Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Love Dare - Day 30

Love Brings Unity "Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are." – John 17:11

One of the most impressive things about the Bible is the way it linked together, with consistent themes running throughout, from beginning to end. Though written over a span of 1,600 years and composed by more than forty writers of various backgrounds and skill levels, God sovereignty authored it with one united voice. And He continues to speak through it today without going message.

Unity. Togetherness. Oneness.

These are the unshakable hallmarks of our God.

From the very beginning of time, we see His unity at work through the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God the Father is there, creating the heavens and the earth. The Spirit is “moving over the surface of the waters” (Genesis 1:2). And the Son, who is “the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Hebrews 1:3), joins in speaking the world into existence. “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26).

Us. Our.

All three are in perfect oneness of mind and purpose.

We later see Jesus rising from the waters of baptism, as the Spirit descends like a dove and the Father announces over this majestic scene, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matthew 3:17).

Jesus later says, “I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38). His desire to answer His followers’ prayer is “so that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13). He asks the Father to send the Holy Spirit, knowing that the Spirit will faithfully testify about the Son He loves, for “no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11 NIV).

Father, Son, and Spirit are in pristine unity. They serve each other, love each other, and honor each other. Though equal, they rejoice when the other is praised. Though distinct, they are one, indivisible.

And because this relationship is so special – so representative of the vastness and grandeur of God – He has chosen to let us experience an aspect of it. In the unique relationship of husband and wife, two distinct individuals are spiritually united into “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). And “what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Mark 10:9 NIV).

In fact, this mystery is so compelling – and the love between husband and wife so intertwined and complete – that God uses the imagery of marriage to explain His love for the church.

The church (the bride) is most honored when her Savior is worshiped and celebrated. Christ (the bridegroom), who has given Himself up for her, is most honored when He sees her “as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:27 NIV). Both Christ and the church love and honor the other.

That’s the beauty of unity.

Husband – What would happen in your marriage if you devoted yourself to loving, honoring, and serving your wife in all things? What if you determined that the preservation of your oneness with this woman was worth every sacrifice and expression of love you could make? What would change in your home if you took that approach to your relationship on a daily basis?

Wife – What would happen if you made it your mission to do everything possible to promote togetherness of heart with your husband? What if every threat to your unity was treated as a poison, a cancer, an enemy to be eliminated by love, humility, and selflessness? What would your marriage become if you were never again willing to see your oneness torn apart?

The unity of the Trinity, as seen beyond the reaches of history past and continuing into the future, is evidence of the power of oneness. It is unbreakable. It is unending. And it is this same spiritual reality that disguises itself as your home and mailing address. Though painted in the colors of work schedules and doctor visits and trips to the grocery, oneness is the eternal thread that runs through the daily experience of what you call “your marriage,” giving it a purpose to be defended for life.

Therefore, love this one who is as much a part of your body as you are. Serve this one whose needs cannot be separated from your own. Honor this one who, when raised upon the pedestal of your love, raises you up too in the eyes of God, all at the same time.

Today’s Dare: Isolate one area of division in your marriage, and look on today as a fresh opportunity to pray about it. Ask the Lord to reveal anything in your own heart that is threatening oneness with your spouse. Pray that He would do the same for them. And if appropriate, discuss this matter openly, seeking God for unity.

"The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!" - Deuteronomy 6:4

Material taken from The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick, copyright © 2009 by B&H Publishing Group.

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