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   11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
   12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
   13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
   14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
   15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
   16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

(Matthew 5:11-16 KJV)

Last night I was riding down the road with my beloved one-flesh covenant Mate and somehow we got onto the conversation of a co-worker and friend of his. Most everyone that knows my beloved and this co-worker refer to the co-worker as my husband’s “Mini-Me.” While neither my spouse nor his co-worker look anything alike, it is very apparent that the co-worker sticks very closely to my spouse in work and play. They have the same employer, travel together for work, belong to the same jet ski club – and have matching jet skiis (though my husband’s ski came first by more than a year). It just adds fuel to the fire to say they match… Mini-Me takes a lot of ribbing about walking in my husband’s shadow.

The significance of the co-worker is that last year around May 2009, he and his wife (they were already divorced), who had been living together in the same home with their children, had had a major falling out and in a rage, Mini-Me decided to move out. He has other property that he owns but it was being rented out at that time so Mini-Me had no place to go. My spouse who had purchased a home some months prior to that offered his Mini-Me a place to stay. I was there at the home of my covenant Mate the night Mini-Me was moving in – his Mother and two brothers helping him. I can’t count the trips that Mini-Me and his family made up those stairs – but I was more in awe of the fact that I had never seen a man with so many clothes OR shoes! In jest it was suggested that he was part “woman” as no man has ever owned so many shoes… At least not willingly… Back on point –

I can remember sitting outside on the patio looking through the sliding glass door feeling absolutely sickened that this man was leaving his covenant wife again, moving in with my prodigal spouse (who currently maintains he has a right to his independence from God) and swearing he would never step foot in his wife’s presence again. He said over and over and over again; “Never again!” All I could see at that moment in time is that my beloved had more firewood to throw on the still-burning flames of his anger and justify his own stance saying “Never again.” I could hear the devil laughing. I lost hope and became very discouraged.

About a week later, my prodigal Mate went out of town with his Mini-Me on business. The two of them travel as a team for what they do. I stayed in my husband’s house to take care of our dog and house sit while he was away. While there I can remember that feeling of being overwhelmed with helplessness — and then all of a sudden it turned to anger. It was a very distinct feeling of anger. I had become angry with the situation and the way the devil was continuing to tear apart families – even continuing to get that evil dig into this one and by so doing, continue to deceive my husband and hold him captive. I went and got my collection of spiritual warfare prayers and started prayer-walking through the house. In the midst of my praying, I started to pray most fervently for Mini-Me and his covenant wife and the restoration of their marriage — and I also asked God to keep him away from this home… In the four months that he paid rent, he never slept in this house for more than one week total. In August of 2009, Mini-Me went back home to his wife and children. They went to Church together and a wedding ceremony was performed in acknowledgement of their covenant relationship with each other and their God. Praise God! A major prayer answered.

Back to the conversation…

The conversation I had with my beloved while riding down the road together last night was one of two conversations that we have had about his Mini-Me and the subject of his “finding religion, marrying his ex, their type of religion.” Those are pretty much the way my prodigal described it the first time he talked about it…

The way Mini-Me and his “type of religion” are described to me is in the form of “legalism.” Legalism is a works-based doctrine that is found within the confines of some Pentecostal and Baptist Churches. It is also found within the Catholic Church. An example of legalistic doctrine is women shouldn’t wear makeup, jewelry or braid their hair. There should be no card playing or drinking of alcohol. And Goodness knows we shouldn’t dance! We eat man-made bread that is the literal body of Christ or pray to a human woman for forgiveness – this same woman who referred to herself as a SERVANT of the Living God. There’s more from across the board – and that’s not what I’m here to argue (if indeed this can be called an argument). There is no such legalistic doctrine in all the Bible and I challenge anyone to show me so. At the risk of sounding like a religion basher and hater and all that one can possibly accuse another of when they get their legalistic hair standing on end – what I am saying is simply this: ANY doctrine that has as its core doctrine ANY salvation that is NOT based solely on the work of Christ on the Cross is a false doctrine preached by the minds of men. It is NOT Biblical salvation. Jesus Christ is the only Name given under heaven by which ALL men must be saved. Salvation is not found in a works-based doctrine or a specific religion or Church. It is only by virtue of the blood of Jesus Christ that one is saved unto eternity – ONCE for all.

Back on point –

On hearing what sounded like Mini-Me and his wife were being deceived and bound through legalism; I stated to my husband the biblical precepts with regard to this. His response was so very worldly wicked – and it scared me more than anything because it tells me where he is in his spirit and relationship with the Lord. His response was that his Mini-Me was a “Christian now who remarried his wife and he can’t drink or go to strip clubs when we travel…” That is very nearly verbatim his response… My beloved claims to know Christ… At present and with all our various faults, it doesn’t appear that we know the same Christ.

So why am I taking the time to tell you this?

Because this morning as I was thinking about that conversation we had last night, I fell under conviction. When it happened I was a bit confused! I mean, what did I say wrong Lord? I know what my prodigal spouse said that was wrong, but what did *I* say that was so bad? I’ll tell you…

20For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

(Matthew 5:20 KJV)

The gist of what the Lord said to me follows:

Because this man no longer cares to drink alcohol or play cards, I judged him by what I heard about his “religious actions” (or the other things that my prodigal found worthy of mocking) and not by what I know.  Are you listening? This man and his wife are doing what they think is right within the confines of their marriage TO PROTECT IT from all outside human and supernatural evil influences that could cause them to “go astray” from each other again. They have established boundaries – individual and corporate – to keep and guard what they have been given! They know their own limits and have set boundaries with regard to those human limits.

The Scribes and Pharisees were experts in their religious law and judged all things accordingly but they were seriously lacking in true righteousness. Most of them lived according to a set of laws and perceived themselves righteous and worthy by and in their actions. I judged this man and his wife based upon what *I* perceived from my point of view when in fact they were more righteous than I. I judged them based upon actions or deeds (Pharisaic legalism if you will) yet they were living in a more righteous manner than I at that very moment. My righteousness was right on par with the Pharisees — and it is the same measure that I used to judge by.

Mini-Me and his beloved covenant wife have chosen to place themselves under the tender care and mercy of God Almighty Who can also take care of my judgments, the legalistic influences of a church (if they do in fact exist in their church) and the outside pressure of my beloved prodigal spouse who mocks and teases this man for doing what is holy and right in the eyes of God. We do have a human tendency to dismiss and mock that which we don’t understand. However, not wanting to understand something, dismiss it as an untruth and then mocking it is another thing entirely…

As for my own beloved prodigal? I can only pray that his Mini-Me is a blessing sent from his God on high to be the positive influence I’ve been praying for. But woe be unto my beloved if he tries to influence his Mini-Me to sin against his God and his wife…

Blessed be my prodigal’s Mini-Me.

Amen.

–Celia Ann

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© 2010 Celia Ann. All rights reserved by Celia Ann and The Ephesian Marriage unless otherwise stated. All other symbols are the trademark of their respective owners.

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