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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

When He Says "Forever"

In the United States, statistics typically agree that one in two married couples will get a divorce. The percentage gets higher when we focus on those who have married for a second or third time. We embrace quick-fix, microwave solutions to problems that deserve greater attention–sexual intimacy on the second or third date, one-night-stands, broken promises. We are a culture indulging in reality television shows that promote men and women “hooking up” without acknowledging that sex creates a soul-tie; forever the two will be one in God’s eyes unless they repent and allow the delivering power of the Holy Spirit to create new life. The memories will always be there.

This is especially true in the church, where we swing on a pendulum between cheap grace and legalism. We either leap head-first into exciting our senses with the mindset of, “well, to the pure all things are pure” or we give each other a list of requirements tacked on to salvation that burden us more than what Jesus intended when He established a new covenant.

My point is not to make anyone feel bad; all of us have fallen short of the mark many times; I am simply trying to lay the foundation that most if not all of us have no real concept of “forever.” Instead, many of us exchange God’s version forever for Disney’s promise of a “happily-ever-after,” and wonder why life does not meet our expectations.

Without understanding that God’s “forever” is without reservation, without a pre-nup or safety escape clause, we cannot understand His heart in Psalm 4:3:

But know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly; the LORD will hear when I call to Him.

The phrase “set apart” here means “distinct, marked out, be separated, be distinguished” (Strongs H6395). God forever marks those who belong to Him. He knows them. They look different, not because of what they do in their own strength, but because He makes them look different.

Many of us have forgotten what it feels like to have someone jealously guard us (or, in turn, to guard jealously). While we do not want to hold others in a suffocating grip, sometimes our “open hand” is so open that we let our loved ones fall through the cracks.

This is not God’s way. He reserves us as a private garden belonging exclusively to Him. We are set apart, peculiar, reserved, guarded, distinguished, separated…His. Forever. We are pledged in marriage to a Lamb who will never back out on His covenant. He will always pursue, always guard, always love. He is never going to get tired of the chase, never going to give up, never going to get bored with us, never going to bewail the loss of “the mystery” that society screams women must keep alive to keep men interested. He’s never going to cheat on the relationship, and each new day will always be a new adventure.

This is His “forever.” When He said it, He meant it. He knows those who belong to Him, and He has been waiting patiently for His bride for thousands of years.

Have you said “yes” to Him?

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