The Engagement Period

“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:6-9

I remember the days before my wedding. A lot of preparation and excitement and eager anticipation. And the day of, I wanted to look my best because I was soon to be joined to the one I love… as one flesh. In the early days, before we were even engaged, he was the one I wanted to be with. ALL THE TIME. At work, I thought about Him. As soon as I got home, I’d call him and arrange a time to meet. I’d shower and prep and fly to him and not leave him until I had to. We talked about everything and I would hold his hand. I would shower him with kisses, and hug him as tight as I could. I clung to him afraid to let go. See, I held fast to the one I loved.

Then came the wedding, and days of bliss followed. But then, reality set in. I realized that a relationship with the one I love took a little work. It was not all sunshine and roses. In fact, many days were like thunderstorms and thorns. We had to adjust to each other. And honestly, there was a time or two that I didn’t know if we would make it. But thankfully, we’re together today… our bond stronger than ever. Our relationship has endured the test of time, and I cannot imagine being apart from him. For He’s my husband… we are as one.

So… what about God? He tells me that He is my Husband. Can I honestly say I have felt the same about Him? And what about Jesus? The church is the bride of Christ, which makes Him the Bridegroom. So have I eagerly run to Jesus in the same manner I flew to my earthly mate? Have I wholly devoted myself to Him, as I have done with my tangible husband? As I burned for my fiancé so many years back, have I been overtaken by an all consuming fire for Jesus? Because the reality is, this is our engagement period and I should be consumed by Him. This is the time for getting to know Him. And until that glorious Day when He returns, it will continue to be the time for getting to know Him. I should be pursuing Him every bit as much as I pursued my husband if not more so. Because I made a commitment to Him when I received Him into my heart. For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I committed to Him until that Day (2 Timothy 1:12).

You know, Jesus is there waiting for me to turn to Him. The fact is He is my first Love, but over time my heart grew cold. Because I allowed myself to be seduced by the world and all she has to offer. See, the world beckons to her lovers every day and if we’re not careful, we’ll be unfaithful to the One we’re betrothed to. Because the lure of status, the demands of self, the desire for material gain, and the cravings for earthly pleasures are hard to resist. “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…” 2 Timothy 3:2-4.

God demands our loyalty and undivided love. We should love Him with all our heart and all our soul and all our mind. But is all of our heart available to offer Him? The fact is, most of us have been wooed away by other lovers. Most of us are actively committing adultery against the One who loves us the most. That means we’re harlots. And God has stern words of warning for harlots. However, His mercies are new every morning. Each day we have another chance to be faithful to the One who is Faithful and True. We simply must choose to nurture our relationship with Him by giving Him the attention He so deserves. This is the only way we can get to know Him… the relationship.

For quite some time now, I’ve been on a mission to know God and what He requires and expects of me. But now I see that I’ve been going about it all wrong. Because I’ve been trying to work out a formula to follow God’s commands. So dogmatic have I been about my regimen, I’ve left no room for the spontaneity of a relationship with Him. And because I’ve forgotten the simplicity of relationship, walking and talking and listening, I’ve bypassed His love! Because I’ve been focused on the routine. And you know, love should be the foundation of our relationship. And it is on His part for I know He loves me. Christ is the proof of His love. But what about my love? How can I love Him with all my heart, and all my soul and all my mind when my love is limited, having been doled out on other lovers?

We’ve all heard, “If you love something set it free; if it returns its yours forever, if not, it was never meant to be.” You know, it’s kind of like that with God, because He leaves it up to us as to whether or not we’ll return to our first Love. The decision is ours to make. Will we return to Him? Or will we doggedly pursue other lovers… false lovers… lovers who offer unspeakable pleasures…. lovers we seek relentlessly and passionately, but never lay claim to. Although it’s our nature to turn from Him, we’re fortunate in that it’s His nature to call us back. Throughout the pages of Scripture He calls out, “Return to me…” And He does the same today. See, no matter what we do, God will always love us and He’ll always quietly call us back to Him. Although He sets us free in that He allows us to make our own choices, He will never utterly let us go. Because He remains faithful to the unfaithful. Because He loves us more than we could possibly imagine.

And so, I will rest in the prayer of Jesus. His prayer was that He would be in us, and the Father in Him… complete unity… like a marriage. My prayer is that I will forsake my false lovers, so that I may return to Him with my whole heart. My prayer is that through a real relationship with God, I will come to know Him. And in knowing Him, I will love Him… my Betrothed. With all my heart, and with all my soul and with all my mind. And today is the day to get to know Him… for it’s our engagement period.

I in them and you in meso that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” John 17:23-26

 

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