The longer I live as a married man, the more surprised I am at how closely marriage imitates our relationship with Christ.
I shouldn’t be surprised, I mean marriage is an institute designed by God and the Bible mentions several times that God sees the Church as his bride. That strongly implies that marriage is symbolic and as such it will likely share similarities with what it’s a symbol of, right?
It’s just that I’ve been taught a lot of things about Christianity ever since I was little but sometimes it hits you over the head and a light bulb goes on when you first realize the truth on your own terms.
One day we were in a praise and worship service at a church somewhere and since most praise and worship songs are kind of monotonous to me, my mind tends to wonder. I noticed that songs we were singing frequently asked God to show us his Glory. We were just begging God to reveal himself to us.
It suddenly struck me. Sometimes we pursue the glory of God without bothering to put in any effort into our relationship with Him. That’s like fornication. We want the awe factor, the fast heartbeat, the wide eyed reveal of His Glory but we don’t bother with doing any of the work that must be invested into the relationship so the moments of revealed Glory can happen legitimately.
When Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to the sacrifice showdown on top of Mt. Carmel, Elijah didn’t need to cut himself while working himself into a frenzied passion, instead he simply prayed and God heard him. Sometimes I feel like our worship services resemble the desperate, shouting pleas of the prophets of Baal more than Elijah’s calm assurance of God’s audience. We try to work ourselves up to a spiritual climax so that God will hear us and respond.
If church is God’s house, I feel like we boldly walk into God’s bedroom and demand that he shows His glory. He’s like, “Who are you and what are you doing in my bedroom?
Sometimes we treat God like a prostitute. We think, If I worship hard enough, maybe he’ll reveal himself to me. If I pay the right price, maybe He’ll show me something that excites me.
Or we try to seduce God. If I convince Him I really care about Him, maybe He’ll give me a glimpse of what I want to see.
When He doesn’t show, we walk out the church door despondent because He didn’t accept our bold advances. We go to other churches. Maybe God is showing Himself at this one. We never bother to inspect the foundations that allow God’s Glory to be enjoyed legitimately. Do we trust God? Does God trust us?
God doesn’t want an exchange of services. God wants you to build a slow, long, painful, faltering, step by step relationship with him that’s based on trust, awe, sincere questions, and the genuine struggle of will that eventually produces faithful obedience through thick and thin, through trial and tribulation, and enables a relationship where God’s glory is revealed to you in significant portions. You and God trust each other.
My first date with Janice was awkward and scary, yet it was a crucial step to building up to the second date. The second date built up to the third and, long story, short, we got married! The relationship built a structure where glory could be revealed and enjoyed. We trusted each other’s commitment to the relationship.
Trust comes from commitment. Commitment is proven in the grinding millstone of daily life, not in peaks of emotion. Although once that commitment has been tested and proven to be genuine, it will give the relationship the foundation needed to build emotional skyscrapers. The more often life tries and fails to break that commitment apart, the higher the skyscraper of emotional euphoria can go.
Janice and I have a great marriage but it isn’t great simply because we made some huge, emotional gesture by standing on a podium, reciting grandiose vows, and promising the world to each other. It’s a great marriage because sometimes I stay up all night with a screaming baby so she can sleep. It’s a great marriage because sometimes Janice scrubs baby vomit off of my favorite shirt. Relationships are built through consistent, small acts of love for the sake of each other’s honor, not bought with extreme, sporadic fits of passion. Consistent small acts of love produce trust. Trust is the foundation required for glory to be enjoyed without reservation.
When you start stepping out in faith and living beyond your ability to see the outcome, you will begin to see His provision. With each new step of faith, you will see even more provision. And in this way the relationship between you and God will begin to produce trust. Trust helps the relationship grow. The relationship gives God an avenue to show you His glory but at the same time, you’re also giving God glory because He’s satisfying your needs in amazing and generous ways. And when He doesn’t provide in the way you’re expecting, you can trust He’s doing something bigger than you can understand. This puts you in a place where God can reveal His glory to you when the time is right.
It will be so exciting, so addicting, so life changing you’ll find yourself abandoning yourself in pursuit of him. And, ironically, you’ll become more of the person He always destined you to be, which is the best version of you there is.
Trust and obey for there’s no other way. It’s the hard way but it’s the best way