I can still see him approaching me- it was our study period and we were in the library. I was a 17-year-old girl and was known as one of the few Christians of our grade. With my head in a book, I was aiming to use the period to get as much accomplished as I could. I was slightly self-conscious and often seemed weighed down by the high expectations I placed on myself.
Who was he? He was an 18 year old, confident and easy-going lead singer of one of the bands in our local community. He was always ready with a joke and seemed to dance to his own song, not burdened by the opinions of others. His singer status had meant he had captured the eye of a few girls in our grade and I was not immune to his steel blue eyes, dimples and red hair. With the brief chats we had had, I knew that he was struggling with his faith, working out where God fitted in life and was trying to decide whether to pursue God wholeheartedly or not. He made me think. On his quest for desiring a genuine life, he drew me in. He made me start thinking about why I did things and encouraged me to not be hypocritical about my faith, but make it my own.
This year, we celebrate nine years married and have been blessed with two children. Somedays those library chats seem a lifetime ago. We strive for God to be the centre of our marriage and our own lives as individuals, sometimes we get there. Sure, we have highs and lows but stopping to think of God’s work through marriage is an important thing. God seems to craft love stories, just as we delight in them.
Ever wonder how our desire for romance and love translate into Biblical truth? Are these just fancies or is there something innate in our make up that cause us to crave being treasured and loved for who we are? We are now a few days away from Valentine’s Day- the celebration of all things love. What does it all really mean this love and how do we navigate these paths while desiring God and his glory above all else?
As Christians, when we celebrate romantic love, we should be celebrating marriage. As a symbol of Christ’s relationship with the church, marriage points us to Jesus and his redeeming work on the cross. Ephesians 5:22-33 shows us that Paul understood that marriage is a symbol of Jesus’ relationship with his bride- the church:
2 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
In verse 32, Paul describes marriage as a ‘mystery’ that points to Jesus and the church. As John Piper, in his sermon on marriage says, “Marriage is a mystery. There is more here than meets the eye. What is it? I think it’s this: God didn’t create the union of Christ and the church after the pattern of human marriage; just the reverse, he created human marriage on the pattern of Christ’s relation to the church.” Just as the husband and wife become one flesh (Ephesians 5:31), faith too bonds Jesus Christ to the individual believer and church as a whole.
As we gear up for celebrating love and love in our marriages, may we too take a moment to examine our relationships with our ultimate groom- Jesus Christ. Does we need some time out to enjoy Him? Do we need to withdraw to a quiet place to listen to Him? Do we need to take some time to celebrate Him and His ultimate sacrificial gift of love?
photo credit: F is for February – Week 6 via photopin (license)