The kind of intimacy that Christ longs to have with me is best represented in the marriage relationship. What God commands wives to do – respect and submit to their husbands – is what He desires all of us as believers in Christ to do for Him. And the part of Ephesians 5:22-33 that describes a husband’s love is a little taste of the way that Jesus loves, leads, sacrifices for, and serves us as His people. In fact, one of the main purposes of marriage is to point us all to the intimate relationship between Christ and His Church.
Marriage is to be a living parable or symbol of the REAL THING – our relationship with Jesus.
It is possible to take this analogy too far, to make too much of Jesus being our “Husband” to the point that it gets kind of creepy. But when we keep this analogy in balance with the rest of Scripture, I think we can see God’s heart for us in a beautiful way. God also describes that He is the Shepherd and His people are His sheep. Or that we are His soldiers and He is our Commander. We are His temple and He is building us as living stones to become His beautiful building. His heart’s cry is:
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Jeremiah 31:33 (later quoted in Hebrews 8:10 – because it applies to believers in Christ, as well)
I found some “traditional wedding vows” at www.weddings.about.com and modified them a bit for this post. I would love for you to think about these vows in terms of your covenant relationship with Christ if you are a Christian. And if you are not yet a believer in Christ, I long for you to see the unfathomable love God has for you, my friend, and to receive the gift Jesus has to offer you – new Life, forgiveness, and life forever with Him in heaven!
I, _____, take you, Jesus, to be my Savior and Lord, my God, my constant Friend, my faithful Partner, my Source, my Ultimate Authority, and my Love from this day forward… I offer you my solemn vow to be Your faithful follower in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love You unconditionally, to support You in Your goals, to honor and respect You, to laugh with You and cry with You, and to cherish You for the rest of my earthly life and for every moment of eternity in heaven with You.
GIVING UP OUR DREAMS SEEMS AWFUL
At first, when we see that Jesus wants us to yield control of our lives and our dearest desires to Himself, it is scary. Terrifying, even. But what we don’t realize at first, is that God is not asking us to give up anything without promising to replace our desires and our will with something much better – His will and His desires.
Now, I look at things so very differently, because I have tasted the goodness of God and experienced the provision, sufficiency, leadership, love, sovereignty, wisdom, and perfection of God’s will. Instead of thinking, “Oh no! How could You ask me to surrender this desire?” I think things like:
You alone are God. You alone are Real Love and Real Life. You are truly the Pearl of Greatest Price. I know now that if I have You, I have everything that matters – and if I have everything this world has to offer, but I don’t have You – I have nothing. I joyfully lay all of my dreams, my desires, and my will on the altar before You. I know that You will give me things that are so much higher and better in the grand scheme of things than what I could ever ask for or imagine. I know that if I had my way about everything, I would make a big mess. I will be content with You no matter what my circumstances and no matter what Your will for me is. I know that Your will is good, pleasing, and perfect.
I want all of Your will, even if it is painful at times – I praise and thank You that You promise to never leave me or forsake me and to give me the strength I need in those difficult, dark times. I don’t want anything apart from Your desires for me. I know that any pain You lovingly allow into my life will prune me, refine me, and cause me to grow into greater maturity in my faith. Help me to receive problems, challenges, obstacles, and painful circumstances with joy as I trust myself to Your sovereignty (James 1). I thank You that any suffering I may have to endure in this lifetime will accomplish Your purposes in the lives of many other people, as well as in my own life. I trust You completely.
I acknowledge that You know infinitely better than I do what is best in every circumstance. You know the needs of the 7 billion other people on the planet. You know the plans You have for Your kingdom and the spread of Your gospel. You have good plans for me in light of eternity, and I know that You promise to use even bad and painful things for Your ultimate glory and my ultimate good (Romans 8:28-29). This life is so very short. I want to keep my eyes on what will matter when this life is over.
I trust You to keep Your promises to me. I thank and praise You for Your promises and for the Treasure of Your Word. No matter what happens, please let me have Your Spirit, Your Word, prayer, and Your will. Whatever will bring You the most glory, I know will ultimately bring me the most joy and fulfillment. I am up for whatever adventure You have in store for me and I can’t wait to draw closer and closer to You on the journey. Only empower me to be faithful!
Keep me close to Your heart! Teach me more of Your ways. Let me feast on Your Word and on times of fervent prayer and total spiritual oneness with You. Let me gaze upon Your beauty and worship You with ever increasing faith, trust, and godliness. Make me holy as You are holy. Let me love what You love and hate what You hate. Change my desires to match Your own. I yield all of myself, all of my resources, all of my time, and all of my future completely to You. Thank You for loving me so much that You were willing to die for me! Thank You for making a way for me to have access to You and to be right with You.
I want to soak in Your presence and rest in Your love and peace no matter what my circumstances are today. I love You with all my heart, strength, mind, and soul!
In the Name and power of Christ,