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A Product of His Grace

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The Beauty of Marriage and Unity With Christ

The Beauty of Marriage and Unity With Christ

Walking down the aisle to meet my Groom is one of my most precious memories. It was the fruition of all the years of painful waiting. An event that displayed the Lord’s faithfulness to me.

All of the anticipation of what it would be like to experience oneness with this man I loved so deeply, would finally be realized.

As I took each step, I was fully aware of our God who had paved the way for us. Every foot forward, resembling each day of walking with the Lord until the day we see him face to face. He is paving the path to glorification where we will finally meet our Savior.

Earthly Wedding, Heavenly Joy

My wedding day was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. From my dashing groom to the cowboy boots on my feet, I had mapped out every detail. Though the flowers and dress were perfection in my opinion, they, along with all other tangible things, were not factors in the true beauty surrounding the day.

It was an earthly wedding filled with heavenly joy. We both knew that the love and joy we were experiencing that day was only a picture of how we’ll feel when Christ, our Bridegroom, stands before us.

The Gospel was being shared to every guest through our story. The splendor of Christ was on display as two became one.

Unity With Christ

One of the most beautiful aspects of marriage is for two people, male and female, to become one flesh. They become one physically, mentally and spiritually. It requires full transparency, full intimacy and to give yourself fully to one person. Mind, body and soul. As amazing as this is it is only mirroring something much more captivating.

The ultimate and awaited unity between Christ and the Church.

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. (Ephesians 5:29-32 ESV)

Believers, globally, come together to make up the body of Christ. We are each members of his body and he is our Head (1 Corinthians 12:12-26).

While we are spiritually unified with our Lord now, we’re awaiting the glorious day when we will no longer be separated from him physically.

We are a betrothed Bride, anxiously looking forward to the day when we will celebrate the marriage supper of the Lamb. A wedding more beautiful than any wedding on earth.

Let us rejoice and exult
    and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
    and his Bride has made herself ready;
 it was granted her to clothe herself
    with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” (Revelation 19:7-9a ESV)

The joy of our one flesh union with our husband is but a glimpse into the pure bliss set before us when we see our Savior, face to face.

Let us wait well, keeping watch for our Groom to come. In that moment, we will be fully united, freed from temptation and our joy will be complete.

“Haste thee on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith, and winged by prayer.
Heaven’s eternal days before thee,
God’s own hand shall guide us there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission,
Soon shall pass thy pilgrim days,
Hope shall change to glad fruition,
Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.”

Fifty Shades Darker and the Savior Woman Mentality

Fifty Shades Darker and the Savior Woman Mentality

“I don’t know what I’d do if anything ever happened to you.”

“Don’t you know you’re not the first woman to try to change him?”

These boringly predictable quotes came through my car speakers on the radio last week. Again, the objectification of women and distortion of God’s design for sex is promoted as this years “love” story for Valentines Day.

But it’s far from it.

Darker is Not Better

I am not writing this to change the mind of the culture. I don’t expect those outside of Christianity to agree with me. But with each Christ claiming woman I see promoting this movie, my heart aches. It aches for their indiscretion and for the watching world that sees them profess love for the Lord and then pay to see a movie that profanes his name.

Though this article is meant to get to the root issue behind the reason this movie is so popular, I have to address the obvious content. I did not partake in watching “Fifty Shades of Grey” but I heard and learned enough by seeing the previews (which weren’t even appropriate to watch).

If you are a Christian woman who is gladly interested in this series, you can no longer say you are against pornography. You are joining in. You are just as accountable as your husband (if married) for watching porn.

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints…For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. (Ephesians 5:3, 5-11 ESV)

For the record, darker is not better. It’s a step closer to destruction.

A Darker Issue

There’s a much deeper issue with the Fifty Shades series than the sexual exploitation praised within it. It’s a disease that can be found in the heart of almost any woman.

We want men to want and need us, desperately. That their minds would be filled with us and their hearts would be shaped and molded into our likeness.

We want to be saviors of men.

And because we believe the lie that “sex is power”, we take the easy route to manipulate men by hitting them at their weak spot. But in doing so, we set ourselves up for heartache and shame and we show just how powerless we truly are.

READ: You Will Never Be Enough For That Guy

Since Genesis 3, women have wanted to rule over men. This desire has left many of us in frustration and pain. When women use sex as a tool for power or to get what they want, they often times leave the man they long to control fulfilled, while they themselves feel emptied of worth.

The Anastasia Steeles of the world will never have a happy ending so long as they keep seeking to save men. Men already have a Savior offered to them, and that’s Jesus Christ. How dare we try to take the place of the man who died for our sins. Even the sins we commit in our endeavor to change and control men.

Darkness Leads to Destruction

Powerless is a woman who allows herself to be a toy in her pursuit of power. Powerless is a woman who allows herself to be pulled into the darkness of sin. There is nothing but destruction ahead if she doesn’t turn around.

It takes true power to entrust everything to the true Savior. It takes power to fight against our natural bend to manipulate and control men. It takes power to give ourselves to one man (our husband) rather than using sex to gain something from him.

Anastasia Steele is a weak woman. She exploits herself in an effort to be everything Christian Grey would like her to be.

Be a strong woman, instead.

And please, if you’re a Christian, have a little more care for your soul and don’t go see the Fifty Shades movie.

Stop Telling Me To Love Myself More

Stop Telling Me To Love Myself More

“You need to learn to love yourself more before you can love others well.”

We’ve all heard it. Some of us have nodded in agreement and affirmation. It sounds like a good solution to our sinful ears. Love myself more? I can roll with that!

More “me” time, less nagging kids.

More yes to me, less yes to others.

The problem is, I don’t see this laid out in scripture anywhere. Not. One. Place.

“And make sure you love yourself before you try to love others.” (Nowhere 1:1 WESTERNIZED CHRISTIANITY VERSION)

The Self-Esteem Lie

Throughout the Bible, we are often called out on our pride, not our lack of self worth. We think we’re pretty worthy of anyone and everyone’s affection, including God. And when we don’t receive the affection we think we deserve, we often pitch a fit.

Truly, apart from Christ, we are not worthy.

“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12 ESV)

Well, that’s a sobering thought.

According to this passage and others in the Bible, we, in and of ourselves, lack worth. But Scripture doesn’t tell us to love ourselves more or grow in our self-esteem. It tells us, even commands us, to esteem Christ highly.

The fix to our problem isn’t loving ourselves more (we don’t need help with that), but instead developing a deeper love for the Savior of our souls in whom our worth is found.

Often times, “low self-esteem” is just pride with a mask on. Missing from the pages of God’s Word are imperatives to build ourselves up. However, what we do find is the exhortation to be humble and to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought (Romans 12:3). This doesn’t mean we are to hate ourselves but to think rightly about ourselves.

I love this well-known quote from C.S. Lewis:

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

A Call To Prefer Others

As Christians, we are often called to prefer others over ourselves.

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3 ESV)

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:10 ESV)

In fact, you won’t find “love yourself” anywhere in God’s Word. But spread throughout the New Testament are calls of action to “love one another”.

The Gospel calls us to focus upward, on God, and to reach outward to others.

The most compelling example of this, “God and others first” mentality is Jesus. Throughout the gospel books, we see him consistently pushing his own needs aside to provide for the needy souls surrounding him. He laid down his very life for us.

We aren’t just supposed to clap and say bravo, but instead take part in his ministry of laying down pride and taking up the cross of humility, and loving others at all costs.

You Don’t Need Self-Esteem, You Need God

I was heartbroken over a recent discovery of a therapist who told their client to “take a break from God” in order to find out who they truly are.

Friends, there is no true knowledge of who we are apart from our Creator.

You could waste your life searching in different cities, relationships or hobbies but no fellow creation can give you a real answer. They are all meant to point you back to God.

If you want to know who you are, search out who he is within the pages of his Word and what you find will shed light on your question.

What I’ve found stringed across the stories, letters and psalms of Scripture, is that God is very, very good, and I am not. He is humble and I am proud, he is steadfast and I am shifting sand.

I am very much the opposite of who he is and that’s what is so amazing about amazing grace.

Even in our darkest night, if we are his, he looks upon us and sees the incomprehensible worth of his Son.

This worth, which is placed on us when we turn to him in repentance, is invaluable. It cannot be earned.

We don’t need to love ourselves more because we have been loved by the one whose opinion is far greater than ours. This frees us to use our lives to build others up in his name and to seek to love him more.

So, please stop telling me to love myself more. Instead, tell me to cultivate a deeper love for the Savior of my soul, the only one who is truly worthy.

 

 

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