TEXT: Prov. 27:19, Prov. 26:24-25, Ps. 15:2, Gen. 25:25-26, 2Pet. 1:5-6
As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man (Prov 27:19). He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him; When he speaketh fair,, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart (Prov 26:24-25). He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart (Ps 15:2). And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them (Gen 25:25-26).
This book, Characters In Marriage, deals with the characters of different people who are involved in marriage, which includes the man and his spouse, their parents, children and of course, the in-laws who are stakeholders in marriage. There is a need to know the characteristics that identify each of them. The bible shows us the path to this and it explains what we should expect from the different people involved in marriage. Unless each individual takes his place and do exactly what is expected of him or her in accordance with the bible, there will be chaos in marriage.
One of the most difficult forms of relationships in the world today, and especially in Nigeria is marriage. Different marriages are confronted with different problems. Hence, there is going to be an attempt to bring these issues to Christian focus in order to create an understanding. So, what is character?
- Character is an attitude or behavior in a particular setting -Rom. 5:3-4, Lk. 8:7
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope (Rom 5:3-4).
Character is the quality of a person’s life that identifies him as a Christian. In other words, character is a feature or quality that belongs to or identifies a person as a Christian. Talking about the character of a Christian, we refer to who he is, what he is expected to do at a particular time, how he is expected to behave under a given circumstance. This is true because when you are a Christian, you are born again, you become a different person, you have a new relationship with God and everything about you changes. Your marriage is not going to be like a typical Nigerian marriage. You have to understand that the cultural or traditional marriage is not Christian marriage, it is not a bible based marriage. It is based on the thinking of some olden days people that gave birth to us. They ran it the way they ran their lives godlessly without the bible and without a sense of direction, though it worked for them at that time. However, when you become a Christian, this changes.
- Character is the nature of a particular person – Ps. 15:2, Job 12:12
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners (ICor 15:33).
If you are a Christian, your nature has changed your temperament. You can do better because you have the Holy Spirit on the inside of you. You are guided by certain Christian principles. With that, nobody should push you. No family member or relative or neighbour should tell you what to do because you have the Spirit of God in you that will guide you into all things.
- Character is your frame of mind – 23:7, Philip. 1:11, Song of Solomon 5:16, Gen. 25:25
Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God (Philip 1:11).
As a man thinketh in his heart so is he (Prov. 23:7). Nigeria has different cultures on marriage. When you become a Christian, you should be totally influenced by scriptures if you understand where these indigenous traditions emanated from. You will have to incorporate into you the good ones that align with Christianity and eliminate the bad ones. It is goodnews that Christians in various societies are doing that and it is something commendable. Where you are still lagging, you will need to make amends.
- Character is what you can be described with – James 1:4, 2Pet. 1:5, Hab. 1:13
And beside this, giving ail diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; (2Peter 1:5).
When you are a Christian, your character should reflect in your marriage. It should reflect in your relationship with your spouse, your in-laws and everybody. It should also reflect in your relationship with your children. These characters are already in you as a child of God but if you find yourself lagging in some areas, then it should become your responsibility to study those areas in the Word of God. I am not saying that you have all the characters. I don’t think many people have all the characters but they can be developed. Character can
change. The essence of the bible is the inspiration that comes from God. It is also for you study and make a profit; spiritual profit, character profit, growth profit and development profit through knowing what it says.
You can develop character – Acts 17:11, James 1:3, 2Pet. 1:6,Pro.12:4
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so (Acts 17:11).
You can be everything that is mentioned in this book. Suppose you mention twenty things and you only have one, the nineteen can be developed. You can make this happen. This is because you already have the resources in you. When you have the Holy Spirit, you get transformed day by day as you read, study and meditate on the bible. The development of character is deliberately done, knowing fully well that marriage is only for this world. But it is also very precarious in the sense that if something goes wrong in your marriage, it may affect your thinking, your finances and your life in general. You have to brace up to develop on these characters and by so doing, you will be helping yourself, your family, the church of the living God and the society at large. No matter your level of education, you can develop it. I have seen illiterates, people who never went to school at all but having the Holy Spirit, they behave or act like people who are very refined and educated. You can do the same now, if you believe you can. As we consider or discuss the characters in this book, make it a point of duty to develop each of them and soon, you will come to the point God wants you to be as a father, mother, in-law child or parent.