"No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice"
January is a month for new beginnings. Sometime in the early 1600's, most countries began to use January as the start of a brand new year. Since I was born in January 53 years ago, it marks the beginning of my life on earth. And on January 9th, 2016 my last-born child gave up a life of singleness to join himself to a lovely young woman in holy matrimony. In the eyes of God, the two became one and a marriage was born. Another new beginning.
The wedding was beautiful. In fact it was a full day of celebrating for us and for Benjamin, who was fighting for his life only 3 years ago. We are so happy to still have him with us, and now this! What joy.
Like most weddings, the success of this special day took months of careful planning, thousands of dollars and the participation of many people to pull off. And like Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas morning, all the planning and preparation led to a climax of activity and then, it was over. They were off to start their new lives together. But for too many couples, the wedding day marks the summit, the peak, the pinnacle of their love for each other. Only to be followed by a slow and painful descent into divorce court. All the emphasis of what the world today calls “love” is poured into this one glorious event at the expense of what should follow. It's a travesty: noun 1. a false, absurd, or distorted representation of something.
What good is a jaw dropping ceremony if the married couple goes home to continue living separate lives? Occupying in the same home but keeping score of their love and time; doling it out in miserly 10% portions to ensure that 90% is saved to do with as they please. What good are vows to love, honor and cherish, forsaking all others till death, if the married couple goes home to eventually despise, abuse and forsake each other for someone else? It is the day-in-day-out keeping of that glorious wedding day and those vows (in spirit and action) that matters.
But isn't this the trend we’re seeing in American Christianity today? So much emphasis is put on the wedding day (the day of salvation) that we’ve neglected the reason and meaningful life that should follow: a daily loving relationship with the God who made us, called us, wooed us and then entered into a holy and eternal covenant with us when we put our faith in His Son.
What good is a spoken prayer of faith if a person goes home “saved” but continues living their life as a spiritual single person—doling out their time and love to God in miserly 10% portions? Getting “saved” is like getting married. It marks the deathblow to living life alone, for oneself and the beginning of a new life lived in relationship with God—for His glory and pleasure. What joy! This is the heart of the first and greatest commandment. So the question remains. Will we daily take Jesus to be our Lord and God, to love Him with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves? Join me and say, "I will!"
**Photo credit goes to Juli Whitson