Saturday, January 30, 2016

War Room: Praying for Marriage Permanence

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

I have not really appreciated the effort from many “Christian” movies. I have a very clear understanding of the spiritual influences of the entertainment industry and how Hollywood has done more to discredit and deviate from the truth of God’s word than it has in telling the truth. These movies tend to water down the message and provide a surreal view of God. That is not to say that the Holy Spirit cannot work in these artistic dramas, because I know God can work through all things based on the fact that He created all things. But even though it can be draining to “correct” these artistic renditions, it is important to correct these movies for the sake of the Gospel.

That being said, I must say that the efforts by the Kendrick brothers lead more to the truth than most movies. War Room is the latest movie produced, written and directed by Alex and Stephen Kendrick and I would have to say that it was their best work so far. Perhaps the secret to this “success” is due more to the fact that the Kendrick brothers would never take credit for the content of the films. These two men would claim that God has worked to make these movies possible. They will both tell you that prayer is significant in making these movies work and War Room typifies their efforts.

If you ever buy the Blue Ray/DVD’s of these movies, you need to watch these movies with the commentary selected. The commentary “on” includes Alex and Stephen explaining the movie from a Christian perspective. You can find the commentary section in the special features portion of the menu. This commentary is very important as both Alex and Steven offer biblical truth to why they created these films. 

The reason I really loved War Room is the fact that a lot of what you see in the movie really does happen. I have seen marriages restored through the prayers of one spouse. I have seen God’s hand in marriages that seemed beyond all repair. Yes, even in the case of sexual immorality, adultery, or whatever your Bible "commentary" says in Matthew 19:9. All things are possible with God. Even though I listened to the commentary and was blessed by all the stories surrounding the making of the movie, I already had a clear understanding of how prayer works in the lives of God’s children. Prayer is an essential part of the Christian walk, and God is ready to be glorified through our prayer life. However, just like the movie accurately depicts, God is not ready to work in us until we have surrendered to Him.  

You may ask what does this movie have to do with marriage permanence?

This movie was mainly about the awesome power of prayer, yet the direct prayers in this movie were centered on relying on God in the midst of a struggling marriage. If you watched this movie with the hope that Elizabeth and Tony would get divorced, then you need to ask yourself if you are still in the faith. Maybe you watched this movie and were convicted by your own failed marriage. Perhaps your marriage is on the verge of divorce.

The fact is, everyone is directly or indirectly affected by divorce, and this movie makes it clear that restoration to God, and the restoration of marriage is centered in prayer. Divorce is not the option in this movie. Miss Clara makes it crystal clear that marriages are under attack in the spiritual realm and the pervading message in this movie is that marriage is one man and one woman for life.  Every one of the Kendrick films is centered around a marriage in the midst of turmoil, and every one of the movies centers around seeking answers of this turmoil through the Lord Jesus Christ.

"This marriage covenant gives God the glory. In other words, marriage is more about God’s plan then it is about our desires."

What is so special about War Room is that it places marriage ABOVE those in marriage. A husband and wife enter into a covenant that binds then together as one-flesh and this was God’s plan and desire from the beginning (Gen 2:24; Mt 19:4-6; Mk 10:6-9) This marriage covenant gives God the glory. In other words, marriage is more about God’s plan then it is about our desires. The wife (Elizabeth) in the movie surrenders to the Lord and seeks His will for herself and her marriage. She then through prayer, seeks to be the wife He has called her to be so that through her actions, Christ can make her husband (Tony) see His light shine through her.

 Certainly The Bible says we are to seek God with all our hearts, minds, strength, and soul. The Bible says if we seek the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart. Well, if we are seeking to desire the Lord with all our heart, we get Him! This is where this movie goes. Prayer is for those who have the desire of the Lord.

One particular section of scripture expresses Elizabeth’s actions after she gave all she had (including Tony) to the Lord.

1 Peter 3:1-6 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.

This scripture goes against what a woman really desires in her heart apart from Christ. Sin entered the world AFTER marriage and the desires of every woman is not to be in subjection of her husband, just as it is equally reluctant for a man to love his wife. Tony did not love his wife, and it was through his wife’s prayers and her transformation in the likeness of Christ that changed his heart.
The effects of sin have brought sorrow to the world and the first part of this movie shows the road which leads to divorce to those husbands and wives who live apart from Christ. Elizabeth was only adding fuel to the fire and she was falling into the hands of an enemy who seeks to devour and destroy. This road is centered on the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. This fall into sin leads to death.

But thank God through the Lord Jesus Christ that sin and death is forever defeated at the cross of Calvary. The temptations of the devil dissipate at the mention of the work of Christ. It was through the sins of man that God entered earth as a man and delivered us from our sins. The plan of salvation started in the beginning and was beautifully displayed through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of the Lord. If you really think about it, this salvation is not possible without the covenant of marriage.  

"Marriage was attacked from the beginning, and is continually attacked in every area of life today. This should not be a surprise as marriage by definition is a representation of the Gospel."

Spiritual warfare is evident in this movie as well. The enemy has successfully entered into the church, courts, and education system by dismantling the idea that marriage is anything other than one man and one woman for life. Marriage was attacked from the beginning, and is continually attacked in every area of life today. This should not be a surprise as marriage by definition is a representation of the Gospel. If the enemy can make marriage insignificant, he can destroy whole societies and cultures. This is happening in the United States today. Cohabitation and “one night stands” have precedence over committed monogamous relationships. Pornography is the glorification of fornication and adultery. Divorce and remarriage was once viewed with shame and is now celebrated and glorified. Abortion is “final solution” to those who choose to do what seems right in their own eyes based on their selfish sexual appetites.

The fact is that this debauchery leads to misery, enslavement, hopelessness, and death. The effects of fornication, adultery, abortion, divorce, and remarriage have cost the lives of millions. Sexual fulfillment outside of marriage has destroyed individual lives, marriages, families and societies. The truth is that many unbelievers are starting to see the effects of this debauchery. They are starting to ask questions, and when they see movies like War Room, they want to know more about this Jesus.
That is the wonderful thing about God. He is readily available to everyone if they would just acknowledge that apart from the finished work of Christ, they are far apart from Him. The Gospel is for all men, and a big part of salvation in Christ revolves around communicating to God that you are a sinner who needs saved. Prayer is talking to God, and this movie not only shows how we need to talk to God, it shows how God answers those prayers.

In conclusion, War Room was a great reminder to me that marriage is as God said it was from the beginning, one man and one woman for life. War Room also makes is very clear that prayer is essential to anyone seeking to do the will of God. Combine marriage and prayer, and it is clear to me that divorce is NEVER an option to those who are in Christ. In the commentary, both Alex and Steven also make this point very clear that they have provided a way for us to see hopeless marriages having hope again through the Lord Jesus Christ.

My prayer is that the Kendrick brothers would consider the truth that God has provided a means in which to save every covenant marriage and that the Lord would lay it on their heart to consider making a movie that there is no scripture that provides loopholes to divorce and remarry. I have no doubt that both these men have heard the call from the voices for repentance from divorce and remarriage. Marriage permanence makes sense from a Gospel standpoint, and War Room takes divorce and remarriage out of the equation.

The last and most difficult step is repentance from unlawful marriages, of which all remarriages after a divorce of a living covenant spouse are unlawful.  It is eternally dangerous to design a War Room to save your adulterous union and expecting God to save your adultery. The pains and trials you have in unlawful unions and blended-families is directly related to the Holy Spirit nudging you to repent from the adulterous union. If the Kendrick brothers seek to give glory to God, then it is imperative that they make it clear that War Room is for one-flesh covenant marriages and not unlawful marriages related to a divorce of a living covenant spouse. 

I am a biblical realist with a biblical worldview, and I understand there must first be a falling away for the Lord to return. Dear brothers and sisters, there is a “falling away” from biblical marriage in the church. Divorce and remarriage is predominant in the church as it is in the world. If this married redefinition (Divorce and remarriage HAS redefined marriage) is the first sign to the end of the age, then I pray that movies like War Room, Courageous, and Fireproof would turn many back to the biblical truths of the Gospel. If we can rightly understand the Gospel, then we can rightly understand that marriage is until death do us part. 

My request is that you join me as I continue to pray that the Lord moves hearts and minds to this truth so that God be glorified, and I will be the first to quote Miss. Clara: 

“You’ve done it again, Lord! You are good, and you are mighty, and you are merciful… You are Lord. … Raise up a generation that will take light into this world”

In Christ’s love,


Unilateral Divorce Is Unconstitutional said...

Lord Jesus, may the Kendrick brothers see Brother Neil's blogs about their movies, and may their hearts be quickened to some day make a movie about standing for a civilly-divorced covenant marriage against the persecution of a church, and of a shepherd who comes to the truth of God in it. Lord, I know that nothing will be too hard for You to change in blinded hearts, even of Your servants. May You get all the glory in these trying last days. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Neil Novotnak said...


KC said...

Amen and amen. God saved my marriage thru my prayers. Married for life, 24 years and counting for the glory of God!