Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Heart of God

Isn’t it wonderful to be in love, to feel butterflies when he takes your hand and the explosion of passion with his embrace?

I love, love. I love romantic stories, movies, engagements and weddings. I think everyone should be in love, have a fairy-tale ending and live happily ever after.

Unfortunately, love isn’t all champagne and roses. It’s the meshing of two personalities, two ways of living and possibly two distinct goals for the future. This process refines a relationship, but it can also strain it. After a time, passionate, fiery love fades and two choices emerge. Leave to find another inferno or stay with the glowing embers. God says, “…rejoice with the wife [spouse] of your youth.” In other words, choose lasting love. This takes a yielding of our will and a change of heart. Then, the two become one in more ways than flesh.

This month I learned of a couple awarded the title, “Longest Married Couple” for 2013, by Worldwide Marriage Encounter, a Christian marriage group in California. Married 80 years, John and Ann Betar, now 101 and 97 years old, gave their simple rules for lasting love. They cited unconditional love, understanding, living with contentment, not living beyond your means, just going with the flow, compromise, and not holding a grudge.

Good advice, but not all will have an earthly marriage. Nevertheless, all who believe in the one true and living God, whether now single, married, male, or female, will be a bride someday. Each one, clothed in fine linen, clean and bright, await their walk down the aisle into the arms of our glorious Bridegroom.

This process begins with the Heart of God, for God so loved the world. Then comes our understanding of how He demonstrated His great love toward us:  While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Accepting this gift makes it possible to see how wonderful are His works, how countless His thoughts. His merciful kindness is great and the riches of His grace abound. God opens the eyes of our understanding so we can know the hope of our calling and the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe. Jesus prayed that we would be one in Him as He is in the Father, so the world may know God and His love for us.

Nevertheless, Scripture raises a question:  What does the Lord desire of you? God in His mercy does not leave us wondering or trying to figure things out on our own. He tells us, do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. Fear the Lord, walk in His ways, love and serve Him with all your heart and soul. Have compassion for others and seek the knowledge of God rather than merely performing good works. Love one another, because love fulfills the law.

These do not come naturally. They require a choice and a change of heart that only comes about by yielding our will to God. Then we’ll experience the oneness of His presence, the joy of lasting love and truly reflect His heart.

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