When two people marry they are united at a far deeper level than just a legal contract. They are joined emotionally as well as physically. Jesus explains; “. . . from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mark 10:6-9) This means that what affects one affects the other in a deep lasting emotional way that has spiritual implications – the physical bond created in marriage extends deep into the souls of husband and wife. This bond affects their spiritual health.
We are body, soul and spirit. Scripture tells us that body, soul and spirit are all connected; “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23) That’s why marriage is of special concern because it’s reach extends carries from one soul to another – it is called a soul tie. Soul ties are created through deep covenantal intimacy coming out of friendship, family and marriage.
The soul ties arising out of our sexuality can be a blessing or burden to us and those around us. The Apostle Paul explains the seriousness of sexual sin; “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For ‘the two,’ He says, ‘shall become one flesh.’ But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (1 Corinthians 6:15-17) The becoming ‘one flesh’ is in essence a soul tie of the deepest connection between two human beings.
The Apostle Paul explains the deep spiritual ramifications of soul ties. For Christians when we accept Christ as Lord and Saviour we are joined with Him in the spirit. Negative soul ties or usurped legitimate soul ties bring a great deal of spiritual damage to us because they are an affront to the purity of the Holy Spirit; “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a man can commit is outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20) How counter-cultural is that!!!!
Not only does a married person sin against their own body, when they fall into sexual sin but because of the soul tie with their partner they drag their spouse into the dirt with them. Both must deal with the emotional baggage and the spiritual poisoning that the resulting resentment brings. This puts lust and pornography into stark perspective because Jesus says; “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” The Holy Spirit in us demands Peace with God by confession and repentance from sins done in the dark because we are never alone. What we do or fail to do always affects others – especially those closest to us!
As long as husband and wife follow Jesus in their marriage and are guided on a daily basis by the Holy Spirit, all is well; “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.” (Proverbs 18:22) The guidelines are simple; “’Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor [including wife or husband],’ for we are members of one another. ’Be angry, and do not sin’; do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” (Eph 4:25-27) And; “Be careful that no one falls short of the grace of God, so that no root of bitterness will spring up to cause trouble and defile many.” (Hebrews 12:15) Notice that God’s Word stresses people don’t just affect themselves but many – ‘we are members of one another’ and ‘defile many’! Christian community is a fellowship linked by the Holy Spirit. Deep friendships and love grow out of this extended family and many positive soul ties develop. A church community of healthy families makes for a vigorous healthy church.
But what happens when things go wrong in a marriage? Let’s take a look at one of the most dysfunctional marriages in the Bible – King Ahab and Jezebel his Queen! Ahab was the king of passive resistance and Jezebel was the queen of control. In one particular instance when Ahab wanted something and couldn’t get it he pouted and felt sorry for himself to the point of going to bed refusing to eat. His wife Jezebel didn’t want anyone to see how childish and weak her husband the king was so she got Ahab what he wanted. Jezebel used Ahab’s authority in lying manipulative ways to control the situation. An innocent man was killed and Ahab was ok with it because he got what he wanted. (1 Kings 21)
The spiritual dynamic between these two infamous characters was the abdication of responsibility and the illegitimate taking of control in the absence of righteous authority. Ahab and Jezebel fit hand in glove in their wickedness, each feeding off the other. The spirits of aggressive passivity and the spirit of control is named after this nasty pair and they can plague marriages and communities today. How? Ahab had no respect for God and considered holiness trivial. He was an anointed King but chose to ignore his responsibility and squander his authority to the point of releasing it to his wife Jezebel. Jezebel didn’t respect Ahab. She loved the prestige Ahab had as King and manipulated every circumstance to exercise her control over situations so she could usurp his authority for herself and achieve what she thought was best. When men walk away from the God-given responsibility and authority they have in their family a spiritual vacuum opens up in their marriage. A door is opened for a spiritual incursion that invites not only the spirit of Ahab into the man’s soul but through the soul tie established with his wife the spirit of Jezebel sees an opportunity to enter.
A few weeks ago at Bible study a sister in the Lord remarked; ‘Women do tend to control!’ We all laughed. I responded; ‘Men like to do their own thing, and be like big kids!’. We could all see the humor in these common tendencies. The Holy Spirit reminded me that neither tendency was all that funny because it is so commonly working in our own lives that we accept it as normal. Yet we see a spiritual dynamic at work that has eroded much of the intimacy and quality of our married life. But since it is not blatant and acute like the antics of Ahab and Jezebel, we don’t notice the spiritual workings of it – in our souls and relationships. Our families and fellowships are eaten away. Our souls are beset, our soul tie becomes a burden not a blessing and our relationship with Jesus is hindered because of the spiritual poisoning resentments bring. Our family including the church family is affected as this affliction moves through soul ties including those established through the bonds of friendship so often established in close communities. That is why healthy marriages and Godly relationships are crucial to the health of a church.
How do we contend with these unholy spirits that beset us? The Holy Spirit will not abide them. If we ask God for help He will help; “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) The first step is confession. Confession is confronting – naming our oppressor is to name the demon – name the sin! The next step is repentance; “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11) Turning back means to turn to Jesus and live according to His Word. Men, rise up and accept your responsibility so your wives won’t be tempted to take control because of your absenteeism. Women, respect your husbands and wait upon the Lord! Jesus leads your husbands. Have faith! Brothers and sisters, all is possible through Jesus’ strength (Phil. 3:19) Once the Holy Spirit is appealed to – His presence will drive out all unclean spirits – including the Ahab and Jezebel spirit; “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6)
This is revival!