The following article is an adaptation from our book with Dr. Winzrose E. Chaurika and Tendai Zaranyika “Practical Advise to Young Ministers” a 3 volume set. Let us hear your comments and feedback. Thanks. -EM.
The most subtle attack of Satan in a minister’s life is always on the family. Most often, the young minister will begin to see that his/her marriage becomes the battleground for the enemy. This is so frustrating especially that most young ministers have not been prepared for such an attack on the marriage and family. Because most young ministers think that they are often declared untouchables, marriage and family life will usually prove to be the most difficult to handle because the church that meets in your home is constantly under attack from the enemy. This is because, when Satan attacks a minister’s marriage and family, and if the minister fails to properly lead his own household, he disqualifies himself for church leadership. The family on earth is the most attacked institution by Satan and he continues today to wreck havoc. Both saints and sinners suffers from satanic attacks and if the young minister is not careful, he will end up in defeat to the glory of the devil who came to steal, kill and destroy. You have to win the battle for your marriage and family through God’s help, otherwise, you will fall.
From the very beginning of your marriage thoughts, you should seek God and consult His mind for your marriage. This is very important because a prudent wife comes from the Lord (Proverbs 19:14; 18:22). The Lord who created you knows what is truly best for you, and who is the most competent and complimentary spouse for you in the ministry to which the Lord has called you. Failure to pursue after God’s will in your life will eventually leads to your downfall. What do we mean by this? Should you be going after prophets asking which woman is good or bad for you? No! That’s not what we are suggesting. There are those young minister’s who feel that they do not want to marry and would like to pursue the path of Paul. If so, you will have done a good thing and you will need to keep and guard yourself from temptations because in this age, adultery, fornication and prostitution have become the norm and most people’s hearts no longer fear. Do not take the decision to be single for life unless God has given you the grace for it. But if you change your mind and decide to marry, then this discussion can be of some value for you.
Mostly, young ministers make the mistake of going for outward beauty. Beauty is indeed good, quite charming and pleasant and we all desire to get married to the most charming princess on earth. However, the first qualification for a minister’s spouse is not beauty or his/her outside appearances; s/he must have been born again. The Christian is not allowed to court, date or marry a spouse who is not a believer. There should not be unequal yoking (2 Corinthians 6:14). If you fall in love with an unbeliever, then you have violated God’s principles for marriage and that will be disastrous and there will be some serious repercussions afterwards. You would have opened the door for the accuser of the brethren to daily accuse and slander you and your marriage before God (Revelation 12:10).
Christians should marry Christians. This is God’s principle; it is His command and cannot be debated. The temptation usually comes when as a young minister the devil suggests to you that you can date an unbeliever and can later convert him/her to Christ simply because you love him/her. In Africa, most young believers believe that they can pray to God and the God who gives them the desires of their hearts can transform their spouses. This supposition is not warranted or justified by Scripture (Romans 6:1), because, in this case, man wants to cover-up for his rebellion to God’s principles and commands by trying to exercise some faith towards God yet his obstinacy and stubbornness has made him to violate God’s moral command not to unequally yoke with unbelievers in marriages. God takes His word so seriously and if we claim to know Him, then we should know that obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). Asking God to convert your unbelieving spouse you went and find for yourself despite of God’s known command to you is like spitting in God’s face. A young minister should be careful not to provoke God’s anger because of disobedience to God’s principles, which, when violated, gives the enemy all spiritual legal grounds to harass and torment our marriages. We should not be concerned much about our fickle feelings but we should learn to fear God and walk in obedience to His laws, precepts, principles and commands if we are to enjoy happy days in our marriage (Psalm 119).
Pastor Aaron Rusikira often says that nowadays, beauty is in the blood! In other words, he argues that in this generation where there is an astounding growth of the HIV virus and a multiplicity of sexual promiscuity, if any young person thinks of marriage, it is logical to first get tested of the HIV virus and Sexually transmitted Diseases (STD/STIs). There are some young men and women who have outside beauty but inside are moving corpses and highways to the grave. Africa has the highest rate of people infected with the deadly AIDS and HIV virus and with the increasing rate of fornication, adultery and the legalization of prostitution; many are falling prey to the deadly virus because of sleeping around and marrying the infected people. If you want to live long to fulfill your ministry, you need to be in good health. Thus, it is important for a young minister to get tested for HIV with his/her spouse.
Some young ministers have failed to heed this advice and thought that they have the law of the spirit of life in them and they were prone to the disease because they worship God. Sadly, they are no more. A recent situation happened in Chinhoyi were a young charismatic and energetic “prophet” fell in love with a certain nurse that was a member of her congregation. He believed that God wanted him to marry the nurse and the nurse told this young man that it was a tragic mistake and that the young man had been caught up with the nurse’s beauty and wealth. The young man was told that she was on an advanced stage with the HIV virus and he said that his anointing was going to destroy the virus once they began to have direct sexual relations. The lady believed and the two were soon married. The lady became pregnant and the child was born with the deadly diseases who also succumbed to death a few weeks later. The woman had been using her money to support the husband’s ministry and had purchased chairs, musical instruments, etc., for the church.
When the young “prophet” learned that the woman had not been healed of the deadly virus despite their sexual acts, he then filed for divorce. The wife argued that it was you who told me that God has told you to marry me and today, why is that God changing his mind? Things went nasty as the whole church came to knew about the marital issues of this young preacher and the wife came and emptied the church of all the things that she had purchased for the church. This is one of the examples that we can cite among many others. Young ministers should not manipulate people into entering into relationships by using the God told me to marry you phrase. Most women we know of have been left heartbroken and hate God for the lies spoken in His name by most of these young men and women. When such things happen, God’s name is brought into great disrepute and is blasphemed among the heathens. Most people trust their church leader and are willing to do anything for him.
We have witnessed in local news that even adulterous church leaders are believed to be innocent by their followers who see even in the clearest evidences available against their leaders, the work of Satan who is working with the masses to blacklist and blackmail their spiritual fathers. In recent years, we learned of pastors who impregnated the whole congregation in the name of the Holy Spirit, some desperate women seeking to have children became victims of these bogus and false prophets and teachers who usurps God’s name. When people are desperate, they believe that their pastor or leader is the answer to all their problems and it’s amazing how they can tolerate such nonsense and fully give their bodies without any thought of future repercussions. It is as the old saying goes, “desperate moments call for desperate measures!”
Because of the recent statistics that seem to imply that each man should get married to several wives to address the abnormality in the world, most young ministers have fallen into the trap of the immoral women (see Proverbs 5-7). Most single women who are known to be faithful companions of the pastors have actually proven to be weak willed women (2 Timothy 3:6) whom the devil has used over the years to seduce pastors and wreck marriages. We are not suggesting that all single women are a threat to the young minister, but we have seen in most cases that, if a young minister is not careful or wise in his dealings with the opposite sex, the temptation to fall into sin through lust, fornication and adultery is great. Most of these singles are filthy rich and have great fortunes which appeals most to the young and ambitious ministers who have unbridled passions and lacks discernment. We have seen many ministers falling prey to these kinds of “singles” but, a wise minister will learn to avoid their schemes and wiles. Satan knows that if he wins you in this area, you will also commit spiritual adultery. In the Bible, King Solomon fell because of his pagan wives, and you have to guard yourself (1 Kings 11).
Thus, we have established that, first and foremost, you need to marry a believer, a Christian. When you are married, you should be careful to be what Rev. Henry Reyenga says “people smart” and learn to establish boundaries. If you are careless in this area, again the enemy will use it as an occasion against you and you will fail. For example, here in Africa, each and every family has its traditions and systems that in most cases are not favorable to; neither do they have Christian values. As a young minister, you will quickly learn that the family you are marrying into has its own traditions, systems and cultural values that do not conform to your spiritual values as a Christian. This is one of the first tests of your leadership abilities as a Christian where you are tested to see if you can stand. Sometimes, when a young man goes to pay the bride price, you are asked to buy certain food stuffs for the people including beer and tobacco. This is a requirement from your in-laws and they make sure they need it. However, we have found that it is important right from the beginning to establish your boundaries and stand your ground by affirming and declaring that you are a Christian and you will not by any means contribute certain things or money to those things that are in direct violation of your Christian standards. It should be known there and then and this will exonerate you from further participation in things that does not glorify God.
You should in a very polite but firm way make your boundaries known and if you are timid and fearful, you will be a slave for the rest of your life to their cultures and customs that does not glorify God. You should not be afraid to state your position, beliefs and conscience matters to them. Do not be manipulated. Pray and seek God in advance and deliberate with the elders what you will and not do in advance so that when preparations for your marriage ceremony are done, there won’t be some unpleasant and ugly surprises. Remember, you are a man of God, and you should stay that way, lest Satan should get an advantage, for we are not ignorant of his devices. Have some mature believers to accompany you and not only your traditional family, this will help you get the much needed support and strength you need.
Another way Satan attacks you is by bringing in friends and family members who are devoid of Christian morals, standards and principles closer to your marriage. While most of these can be your neighbors, former friends, relatives, workmates, etc., you should learn to begin to take your stand early in your marriage. Communicate with your spouse and agree on who to befriend and where to go to seek for advice and counsel when things go wrong in your marriage. The Bible makes it clear that in the multitude of counselors, there is safety (Proverbs 11:14; 15:22). But, the devil knows how to bring the worst advisors and counselors to your situation. He makes sure you befriend the wrong people that are of no spiritual significance to you. In other words, while we should love all people equally, when it comes to our spiritual and family values, we should pursue after people that are godly, that can help make our lives godlier.
Immediately as you start your marriage and family life, it is very important that the two of you should find time to pray and study the Bible together. Family devotions are very important and set times should be established for family worship. The devil knows that the family that prays together stays together! Thus, he seeks to bring discord to you early in marriage but preventing you from studying and praying together. The family today is under a serious crisis; it is under attack! Satan will make sure that he creates several atmospheres that will prevent you to seek the face of the Lord together as a family. When this happens, a family that is not connected to God will not connect to each other. Dr. Ron Coghlin often said that the only hope for the family is a returning to God honoring principles found in the Word of God! When the devil succeeds in racking the believer’s home, he knows he has destroyed your testimony and witness in the world because you have failed to represent the image of Christ and His church, for which the marriage institution is a type.
Another way the minister’s family is attacked is when Satan makes the family to have a reversal of roles. In most cases, many women want to take the roles of their husbands. This is a very serious error, and it’s not a new phenomenon. It began in Eden when the wife usurps her position and was used by the devil to deceive the man (Genesis 3). As if that’s not enough, most women are not content with their place and position in the home. They have often advanced the phrase; the man is the head of the home/house as if this is what the Word says or teaches. Actually, the Word of God says, the head of the woman is the man (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:23). At one marriage seminar we once attended, one woman responded by saying that, “if the man is the head, then I am the cap/hat!” This shows a lack of respect for God’s simple principles and guidelines for humanity.
Some men too will go to a great extent of demeaning and dehumanizing their wives. They speak badly about them, reverse their roles too and see them as unworthy partners. It was to this effect that St. Augustine noted that woman was not taken out of man’s head to challenge him, nor was she taken from his feet to be trodden down by him, but woman was taken from Adam’s side where she could be close to his heart (c.f. Genesis 2:18-24). This is God’s plan for man and woman today. “The entire values of the family are being attacked every day. Many people today do not even have a sense of right and wrong. Television and movies are presenting unhealthy morality,” said Dr. Coghlin. True men should know that their wives are their images! Your spouse is your image. You should not be ashamed of her and neither should you entertain the thought that she is inferior to you. Rather, you should see her as your help-meet, one who was called alongside by God to help you become the person that God intended you to be. A man that does not love his wife is misrepresenting the biblical Christ!
No one said marriages are easy. Marriages and families have become the spiritual battle grounds for good and evil. The devil sows seeds of discord, mistrust and unhappiness, disobedient children, lack of spiritual values and disrespect for authority. Fathers are tempted to duck their spiritual responsibilities as priests of the families while mothers are tempted to disown and disrespect their husbands. God looks from heaven and even the angels wonder why are marriages made in heaven fail? No family has escaped the tearing down of the family. Divorce has touched every family, many times resulting in many single parents struggling to raise one or more children. There is resentment, outbursts of anger, rejection and all kinds of evils and woes. There stands the man of God with a unique spiritual privilege and responsibility to raise and lead a godly family (Malachi 2:15) but alas, the enemy won’t give up his attacks until the man of God is down into the great abyss of despair and hopelessness.
The family was created before the Church and we cannot try to undermine its place in our lives and the society. The family was God’s first institution and throughout the Bible, no single book overlooks its importance. Yet, the Bible is so fair and unique in that, it tells us of families that succeeded and those that failed. But yet, God who is still rich in mercy still intervenes to save the family in crisis. The young minister will learn that marriage and family life is not a theory class but a practical one that demands spiritual maturity, wisdom and discernment to make wise and godly choices that will influence and affect his ministry destiny.
To be continued…