Give me a word, Lord: PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY

Genesis 2:24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

I Corinthians 11:13 But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

It is estimated that most Americans will eat 3,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches during their lifetimes. THREE THOUSAND! That’s a lot of peanut butter and jelly. Most children in the United States are introduced to the perfect combination by the age of four. As an adult, I like to mix a little peanut butter and jelly in a bowl and eat it with a spoon, but that isn’t a sandwich. You have to have the slather that sticky, sweet mixture over a couple of slices of bread and put the bread together to get the perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Peanut butter is a little sticky, and it mixes well with jelly. It is full of protein and nutrients that we need for our good health. It does our body good. Jelly is pretty great too. In fact, we make homemade jelly through the year and give it away as gifts at Christmas. Jelly can be extremely sweet and sugary. It is sometimes tart and tangy. It is a delight to the senses. Yes, both peanut butter and jelly can be eaten alone, but when you put them together, you get a fantastic combination.

Marriage is a lot like a great peanut butter and jelly sandwich if you think about it. The husband and wife represent the sticky peanut butter and sweet jelly. Some days the husband may be the sticky glue that holds the couple up and helps to hold them together, and some days it may be the wife’s job. Each spouse at different times provides nourishment for the relationship that is needed on a daily basis in order for the relationship to survive. Some days the husband is sugary sweet, and some days the wife will add the sweetness. Each partner has days of tartness, tanginess, and mixtures of sugary sweetness. We all have good days and bad days, but when the husband and wife are a great team, they work through those good and bad days together. Each spouse plays a vital part in making the marriage work.

Peanut butter is good by itself, but it is great when you add a little jelly. But what about the bread? You can’t make a great sandwich without the bread, and you can’t have a great marriage without the Bread of Life. Yes, you guessed it. The bread represents Christ. When a man and woman are joined in marriage, God puts them together in a way that no one else can. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:31-33) A pastor can not put a couple together, nor can a judge. Only God can provide that perfect union of husband and wife. Even though you have some sticky peanut butter holding on to the jelly, you have to have the bread to keep it all together. Yes, marriage is a lot like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. A couple brings many great things to the table when they join in marriage, things that help to bring them closer together as a couple, but if that couple fails to keep Christ at the center, all the goodness they bring to the marriage will NOT keep them together. We have to ask and allow Christ to be the center of our lives and the center of our marriages. He will help hold us together in a way that we can not do in and of ourselves.

I’m speaking with a little bit of personal insight on this subject, for you see, I am on my second (and last) marriage. My first marriage failed. We had a little peanut butter and a little jelly, but there wasn’t an over abundance of either. I had Christ, but my ex-husband did not. Christ can’t be the center of a union when only one half of the union is following Him. I could take this opportunity to play the blame game, but I won’t. When I reflect back now, I realize that the marriage didn’t make it because we didn’t make God a priority together. I still pray for my ex-husband to this day, and I’ve learned to let go and let God control every aspect of my life. When Jeff and I married, I prayed for God to take over. I prayed for God to be the center of our marriage, and boy oh boy did He ever! I am now married to a wonderful, loving, Christian man who prays boldly with me. He teaches Sunday School at my side, and he is a deacon of our church. He is my peanut butter, and I am his jelly, BUT GOD is the bread that is holding us together!

To make a good sandwich, you have to have all the right ingredients. You can’t make a sandwich without the bread. If you are trying to make a chocolate cake,, but keep ending up with a lemon one, what do you do? You check your ingredients! Today, I pray for your marriages. I pray that you realize that even if you are a great team made up of the finest peanut butter and the sweetest jelly, you aren’t going to make it if you don’t have the Bread! Make sure you include the most important ingredient: God! Ask God to be the center of your marriage. Move over and let Him in! It’s peanut butter jelly sandwich time!!

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