In a recent blog post titled “How to Tune Into God’s Live Love Stream,” I shared a Scripture that clarifies for Christians how they can hear God’s voice and experience His love in tangible ways. A Scripture that answers the question, What is Father God’s heart’s desire for those who are in His Son?
This Scripture is nestled within a passage found near the end of the apostle Paul’s second letter to the fledgling church at Corinth:
I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ. But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed. But I don’t consider myself inferior in any way to these “super apostles” who teach such things. (2 Cor. 11:2–5 )
Paul was responsible for leading these baby believers at Corinth to simple faith in Christ through sharing the good news of the gospel—salvation by grace through faith alone, undiluted by “good” works (Eph. 2:8–9).
These baby believers became the pure bride of Christ (were joined in eternal spiritual union with Him) the moment they believed into Him. Nothing whatsoever could change who they eternally were in Him—“perpetually pure.”
But now Paul was clearly upset. And rightly so. A group of supposed Jewish “super apostles” were coming in behind him, trying to corrupt the Corinthian church’s pure and undivided devotion to Christ.
No one knows exactly what this group of false teachers was selling, but it’s obvious by Paul’s stinging rebuke that the Corinthian church was buying “supplemental” insurance to their “basic gospel” policy.
In a nutshell, their pure and undivided devotion to Christ was being corrupted by their new attempts to add “good works” to the salvation mix.
Please notice that Paul compared their attention deficit disorder to the original sin in the garden of Eden, where Eve stopped relying on the Tree of Life (symbolic of drawing from God’s life & wisdom from within) to sustain her and bought into the serpent’s lie that she could find life by eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (symbolic of getting life from outward behavior—doing good things and avoiding evil).
At first glance, you might say, What’s wrong with doing good and avoiding evil? Won’t that keep me out of trouble?
In the natural realm, nothing’s wrong with doing good and avoiding evil. It will likely keep you in good standing with your spouse, your boss, your children, your friends—and your local law enforcement.
But, in the spiritual realm, if your motivation for doing good is to remain in “good standing with God,” so that you can feel good about yourself and your ability to be a “good” Christian, you have just placed the proverbial cart before the horse.
You have just placed yourself under the Old Covenant Law of “Thou shalt not, or else …”
In the seventh chapter of Romans, Paul describes returning to the law after being married to (joined in spiritual union with) Christ as “spiritual adultery,” yet many Christians continue to live by a checklist in order to feel good about themselves.
Instead of acknowledging the truth that they are His beloved bride—pure, holy, righteous, and blameless before Him—and living out of His unconditional love and power, they are trying to get love from Him by how well they perform.
Allow me to illustrate:
Steven and I meet, fall in love (it wasn’t love at first sight, though) and get married. We genuinely enjoy, appreciate, and love each other. In a very real sense, I am now his life and he is now mine.
After the initial honeymoon season is over, however, I begin to get nagging (unwarranted) thoughts. Thoughts like, “Steven’s not going to keep loving me unless I look my best at all times, keep a spotless house, cook at least one meal a day (I don’t want to go overboard here), make his favorite desserts (he has a sweet tooth), give him control of the remote, never get upset with him, and so forth.
But it feels like no matter how much I do to make myself presentable to him, he still doesn’t love me.
So one evening after he gets home from work, I ask him, “What can I do to get you to love me?”
Completely puzzled and frustrated, he looks at me and says, “What do you mean get me to love you? I already love you, regardless of what you do or don’t do for me. I wouldn’t have married you if I didn’t love you.”
But I don’t really believe him. It still feels like he doesn’t love me unless I’m performing perfectly for him. So, I continue (in an obsessive-compulsive) manner trying to get him to love me. So much so that I spend more time trying to look and act perfect than I do genuinely appreciating and enjoying his company.
You can only imagine how sad (and maybe even mad) my unbelief in his love for me would make him feel.
The climate of our marriage quickly changes from warm and loving to cold and lifeless. Not because of lack of love on his part, but because I would not believe—I would not receive and enjoy—his unconditional love for me.
I made our marriage all about my appearance and performance rather than his pure love for me. What a tragedy!
You might think this is a silly illustration, but it is exactly what many (male and female—it’s a spiritual role, not a gender) in the bride of Christ do subconsciously. Rather than believing, receiving, and enjoying His unconditional love and life, we try to earn/deserve what we’ve already been given for free—at absolutely no cost to us.
Bride of Christ, don’t you think it’s time we wake up, smell our unbelief, and replace it with the aroma of loving trust in our Spiritual Husband?
Once we begin to allow ourselves to freely enjoy His no-strings-attached love for us, we will relax and genuinely appreciate Him as the love of our life.
We will finally be free from law-based living (spiritual adultery) to be enamored with Christ alone—to give Him our undivided devotion!
In my next post, I will share practical ways that each one of us—as Christ’s bride—can give Him our pure and undivided devotion by taking a closer look at the Greek meaning of the word devotion: “sitting by constantly, attending to enthusiastically.”
I’m also going to share with you a beautiful vision He gave me the morning of August 10, 2008 at 10:54 and how you too can position yourself to see and experience your Spiritual Husband in your holy mind’s eye.
If you long to experience Christ’s undivided devotion for your heart alone in tangible ways, then you don’t want to miss my next post!
Dear reader, if you have have experienced Christ’s undivided devotion for your heart alone in tangible ways, I would love for you to share as a comment below. Or feel free to e-mail me.
Live Christ—Live Happy!
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