How does a pastor guard from marital idolatry?

A common idolatry of the pastor is to make his ministry his idol.  There is, however, a tendency to swing the other way and allow other good gifts in the pastor’s life become an idol such as his own marriage.  For pastors who hold their marriage in high regard (as we should) here is some excellent counsel from John Newton to guard from allowing our marriages to become the idol of choice.

As a seasoned and tested pastor, John Newton wrote this wise counsel in a letter to a young John Ryland Jr. about to be wed:

You stand now where I stood almost thirty years ago and should you (as I hope) live as long together as we have done, you will probably like me be offering grave advice thirty years hence, to some young folks who will be setting out after you.  Beware of idolatry.  You cannot love your wife too much, if you love her in a proper subordination.  Look at her while you are reading this, and it will help you to see an illustration of my meaning.  You have not all her love.  She will continue to love her relatives, and if she had a thousand friends, she has room enough in her heart for them all.  But there is a peculiar kind of regard due to you, which she cannot, will not, dare not to transfer to another.  Just so, the Lord leaves us scope enough for the exercise of our affections towards creatures.  But there is a sense in which we must love him wholly and only.  To him our love must be supreme, and unrivalled.  And that not merely in our judgments, but in our habitual exercise and walk, otherwise we shall foolishly exchange gold for counters, and deprive ourselves of that sunshine, for which the smiles of the whole creation can make but a poor recompense.

Posted in Home and Family, The Pastor's Soul, Uncategorized
One comment on “How does a pastor guard from marital idolatry?
  1. Grant gordon says:

    Did you get this quote for my book, Wise Counsel: John Newton’s Letters to John Ryland Jr.?
    If so l would appreciate your including the reference to it.

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