“But I need a wife – I don’t want to go there till I’ve found my other half.”
Just let those two common ideas marinate in your subconscious for a little bit, while I set the stage for my analysis of them.
I’m going to tell you a story. A true story.
Long ago, God.
God was. The Almighty. The Transcendent. The Righteous One. The One Whom the angels worshiped.
God, the Great I Am, desired friendship. A friendship so deep that the intimate word used for Him ‘knowing’ His friends would be word used to describe as a man knowing his wife, and conceiving a child.
God created Man, male and female, to be His friends. With this creature God would establish Covenants. Man would break agreement after agreement in their rebellion against the Creator. God would pass judgement and proclaim laws for those whom He created. They were unworthy of His love, yet He yearned to bring them back into friendship with Himself.
So the Great I Am sent that part of Himself through Whom the world had been created – the Person of Jesus. Jesus Christ, the Messiah. The One for Whom the world had cried out for centuries, waiting for Him to be revealed.
Jesus Christ came to earth as an unborn baby, grew and was born, grew and became a little Jewish toddler, grew and became a child, a boy, a youth, a man. The Lover of humankind.
He was tortured to death, crying out with His last breath to His Father. His bloodied body lay in a tomb, until His Spirit burst upon it again! The body of the dead Messiah was transformed into the body of the resurrected Christ, still bearing the scars of His death but now also shining in the glory of His life!
This, oh reader, is your Groom.
He rose into heaven, to wait for the Day of the Lord. He will come again, in power and glory and majesty and righteousness, to judge the world and carry His bride away.
To carry you away.
While He waits for us and we wait for Him, He calls us to follow in His steps, daily filled with this new life, obeying His commands.
As Christians, we all come under the commands of the Lord. If the commands Jesus gave ‘don’t apply’ to you, then the hope of eternal life does not apply to you either. It’s that simple.
The first and greatest commandment is to find the right husband or wife for yourself.
Oh, hang on …
That commandment comes in at #5 … no, hang, on, #12 … no, wait … It doesn’t exist!
Did you ever think about that fact that finding your mate is not a command of the risen Lord?
And that loving God and serving Him IS a command – the first and greatest command?
Around which our entire lives revolve?
How do those two statements from the beginning look now? A bit petty, huh? I hope they look petty. Jesus Christ died on a Roman cross and the same power that brought Him back to life works in us who believe! Called to be friends of the Most High God, we are cleansed and brought into fellowship with Him, eagerly awaiting our Saviour Groom, Who comes at the end of the age in glory!
The desire for marriage is not petty.
Compared to the call of Christ on our lives, the desire for marriage is petty.
Marriage is awe inspiring. It is holy and beautiful. It is the sacred reflection of Christ’s love for His bride.
But it is the reflection, not the essence.
I don’t believe we are ready for marriage until our desire for marriage pales into insignificance before our desire for Christ.
If the mere dream of marriage is so strong in my heart that I put my service to Christ on hold for its sake, it is not hard to predict that the desire and reality of an actual marriage might overshadow my love for Christ, and I would worship a man instead of the Man.
Now, we know the struggle. We have gone through it – I, Georgia, am still going through it! I am a woman, a daughter of Eve. I am descended from the woman who was designed for man. I, John, have been through it – men, we are descendents of Adam – the man of whom the Lord said, ‘It is not good for him to be alone.’
But the desires of our hearts must be made to come second to the needs of our souls and the desires of God.
This story is told of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot. While they were courting, one night they were talking in a graveyard. As the moon rose it cast their shadows – and the shadow of a cross from a tombstone was between them. They agreed there that there would always be a cross in their relationship.
God designed us to be together, and our love for people and our love for the Lord are not to be pitted against each other. They are both good! But our love for the Lord is the one by which we chart our lives. While we long for our beloved to be the king or queen of our hearts, we long with greater fervor for our Beloved to be the King of our souls. This is an even higher office, and the One enthroned there will never be displaced.
So this is not an article against marriage. It is an article warning against the worship of marriage.
You are not going to die if you don’t get married.
You are going to die if you don’t love Jesus.
Friend, base your life on Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, not on a spouse or the hope for a spouse. Do not let the desire for the mirror of Christ’s love in your life distract you from the reality of Christ’s love in your life.
You may long for a husband or a wife. Yes, pray and fast. Yes, read about marriage and prepare yourself to be the partner God would have you be.
But serve God, and worship Him only.
Blessings, John and Georgia
We have included here some scriptures. These can be mined for immense jewels, but at the same time, we can read them simply and understand what the writer was simply saying. This is what God has to say.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as tot he Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church – for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Boy, Paul just can’t keep on track! The theme of Christ and His church is so glorious, he keeps getting distracted from the mirror – which he commands to be kept as an honest reflection of the reality – and talks about the reality itself, Christ and the church!
1 Corinthians 7 – read the entire chapter! Here I will just quote verses 29 to 31:
What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as it it were not theirs to keep; those who have the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.
Well, that makes it pretty clear. The entire chapter is about this matter – do read it!