At the Heart of It All
The wedding was beautiful. The bride, dazzling in white. The groom, radiant as he stood waiting for his bride. As vows were spoken and rings were exchanged, I had no doubt the bride and groom were in love. In love with each other and in love with the Lord. The Lord was praised for bringing the couple together and He was an integral part of the wedding ceremony.
A wedding signifies the merging of two lives. Marriage was instituted by God himself, and is a beautiful picture of Christ’s relationship with the church. “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church,” (Ephesians 5:31-32; KJV). So this translates to ‘happily ever after,’ right? Only when the Lord, hard work, and determination are part of the equation.
Every marriage faces challenges. Sometimes I selfishly want things to be done my way – forgetting my better half. “Oneness in marriage does not mean losing your personality in the personality of the other. Instead, it means caring for your spouse as you care for yourself, learning to anticipate the other person’s needs, helping the other person become all he or she can be,” (Life Application Study Bible, p. 2078). Wow! Now that’s a tall order. But when God is at the heart of the relationship, we put ourselves in a position where He can bless us, and our marriage works.
Remember Ruth and Boaz’s love story? Ruth was a young woman from Moab who was profoundly influenced by her mother-in-law, Naomi. When Ruth’s husband died and Naomi determined to return to Bethlehem-Judah, Ruth willingly left her country, and embraced a new life, “…for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God,” (Ruth 1:16b). Once back in Judah, Ruth was determined to help Naomi. Gleaning in a nearby field gave her an opportunity to harvest food for the two of them.
Enter the knight in shining armor. Okay, he didn’t really wear armor, but check out his list of qualities and decide if he was a keeper: above reproach, self-controlled, wise, respectable, hospitable, gentle, a godly man, and a good manager of his own household – to name just a few. I’m pretty sure he’s the kind of guy every mother dreams of for her daughter!
In order to marry Ruth, Boaz had to fulfill some legal obligations. He was willing to do everything that was necessary. These two demonstrated a strong love for the Lord as individuals and continued to build on this foundation as a couple. And God blessed! “So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bare a son,” (Ruth 4:13). That son turned out to be none other than Obed, the grandfather of David! Ruth and Boaz were blessed for their obedience to the Lord by being included in the lineage of Christ.
When we center our marriage on the Lord, we can be sure we will be blessed as well. In fact, any relationship with Christ at its core is headed in the right direction! “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing,” (Zephaniah 3:17).
Evaluate your relationships. Is Christ at the center of each of them? If not, what step will you take today to make Him the emphasis?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for the relationships You’ve blessed me with. Help me to build strong relationships where You are honored and glorified. In Jesus’ name, Amen.