Let me begin by saying I am NO expert on the subject of marriage! But I do know marriage must be built on trust. And in order to have trust, both couples must be vulnerable, honest, open, authentic, and willing. And you must really know your spouse and their character before you are willing to trust them with yourself, right? To be “naked and unashamed” before one another, trusting the other with yourself, merging in a union as “one,” is the most intimate thing on earth outside of fellowship with God. Why is it that God both in the Old Testament with Israel and in the New Testament with the Church (or Body-of-Christ) uses the picture of marriage to explain His relationship with us? Why would God use something so intimate as sexual intercourse between a man and a woman to explain Christ and the Church. This should speak VOLUMES to us, shouldn’t it?
Does Jesus really delight in us that much! Do you wonder how I connected sexual intercourse with delight? Well, put yourself in the first century in Israel at a marriage feast between two virgins and you will fully understand! The groom so anticipated this day, as did the community. The bride anxiously waiting for her lover to take her, and the groom overjoyed at the beauty of his pure, spotless, virgin bride, who was about to belong fully and ONLY to Him! I know that in modern-day America these words that I have written are not appreciated, nor received, with excitement, but with hatred. Isn’t that terrible? Marriage and sex have become both a burden and selfish in our time. But this was not the case in Jesus’ day. And therefore, we must view this subject through His eyes. But before we go there let me assure you that if you are in Christ, and a child of God, you are a virgin spiritually, even if you are not one physically. For it is Christ who makes His own bride spotless and pure no matter how unclean she was before being joined with Him.
Now let’s leap into the Word of God on the subject. Paul explains in Ephesians the relationship Christ has with us in this way: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 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. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Eph 5:25-32).
“So they are no longer two but one flesh” (Mk 10:8) “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 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” (Eph 5:22-23).
I know we have all read and heard these passages many times, but have we slowed down enough to grasp the depths of what the Holy Spirit is saying through Paul. I want to ask; how should a wife respond to a husband like this? Is it not true that the wife who feels she is valued, seen, heard, and cherished by her husband GLADLY gives herself to him in every way? And how can she not, since He is the head and she is the body, they are literally joined together and cannot be separated. If the head and body get separated, what do you have? In order for something to be human and living the two must be connected, correct? So, tell me, ladies, do you have a problem submitting to a man who loves you as Christ loves the Church, according to the scriptures above? Probably not. We men, ME INCLUDED, fail in this area constantly. I may know the truth and what to write, but it does not mean I love my bride as I should. But thankfully, by God’s grace, I have an amazingly patient, gracious, forgiving, respectful, submitted, loving, wife, who despite my shortcomings, still sees Christ working in me.
My point in writing today is so that we might somehow, by God’s grace, grasp the truth, or reality of the love of God in Christ for us. That we might know the joy of being cherished, valued, seen, heard, and delighted in by our Lover. The other week I wrote a blog titled “He Loves You” and I pointed out how the child who “knows” they are truly loved by their parents normally has no problem responding to that love with thanksgiving, submission, and seeking to please them in return. In the same way, if we are able to grasp the depths of “sexual intimacy” (sorry if that is too graphic) that we experience with Christ spiritually as His Bride, and the depths of His delight in us as His own pure and Holy Bride, belonging fully to Him alone. Then I think we will gladly respond in submission to His pleasure (or will) no matter the cost. But many, if not most, of us have had “difficult” relationships in our past, or in the present. And these difficult, or even damaging, intimate relationships have skewed our perspective, and the “lens” by which we view this topic through. So how do we grasp truly the depths of intimacy available to us through Christ? How do we let down the wall low enough to allow for trust to flourish in the relationship? We must realize that Christ has no walls up on His end. He has already fully given Himself to us. He is ALL in. For Christ has already demonstrated His great love for us on the cross. So, the only problem is with us and our lack of trust in the relationship. In truth, maybe we don’t know we’re loved that much. Maybe we have no clue that He actually “delights” in us. Maybe we are so disgusted with ourselves that we cannot imagine taking off our clothes in front of Him, willing to trust Him with our vulnerable bodies, willing to be “naked and unashamed” before Him, giving ourselves fully and completely over to Him? Yes. This is the problem. We don’t know we are “bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh” (Gen 2:23). We don’t realize we are His delight, His Holy, beautiful, spotless delight. We don’t realize the anticipation He feels just gazing at us, waiting to take us in His arms and hold us, to “save” us from our own minds and flawed perceptions of Him and of ourselves. He LOVES to hear us and to see us. He delights to listen to our hearts through intimate prayer. He loves to bare His soul to us through His Word and Spirit. He loves to sit with us and just fellowship. He loves to whisper in our ear, “I delight in you.” You know, His smile is beautiful, and He delights to smile on you! After all, He willingly joined Himself to you for, “…he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him” (1 Cor 6:17). He CHOSE to join Himself to you in Holy matrimony. Jesus Christ is married to you, and you are married to Christ. And Jesus Christ takes His part VERY seriously. But do we? Are we “as” devoted to our Groom as He is to His chosen Bride? Does He ask us to be just as devoted? Yes, He does. Since we are His body, we must follow wherever He, as the Head, leads us. And since He has given Himself fully to you, you in gratitude, being so thankful that He is your Savior, are able to respond in trust through submitting to His gracious authority in all things. Let me use this moment to point out that due to this fact, it is impossible to Have two heads or two bodies in a marriage. There is only “one” head and only “one” body. They are joined for life. And when the head loves his body properly, the body responds to the head willingly and fully, in trust.
So, do you have a marriage built on trust or not? And I am talking about the one you are in union with spiritually. Do you experience the most amazing and beautiful spiritual intercourse with Christ, or are there trust issues going on, on your end? Did you know it grieves Him knowing you don’t fully trust Him? Just think about your marriage on earth. If my wife didn’t trust me, it would definitely affect our intimacy! How can you be intimate with someone you don’t trust. So, if this is you, I pray you will take some time to meditate upon the verses in the Bible that speak about a groom and his bride. There are plenty. And I pray you will begin praying like this, “Lord, you already know I don’t fully trust you, but I want to trust you, can you help me learn to trust again?” Trust me, He waits for those kinds of prayers. And loves to answer with “absolutely, that’s all I have been waiting for.”
Lastly, I want to leave you with this to meditate on: when we “know“ we are loved truly, we will respond “fully“