Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Devotional 170210

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I felt energized and fully recovered from jetlag. I slept well and felt good as I woke up this morning. Thanks for your prayer. I have a lot of “home work” to catch up from my study. Please pray that I will be able to concentrate in my study, and balance my time in office work as well as with my sermon preparation. I need to prepare sermon and workshop at an Indonesian church in San Jose this Sunday, and a mission conference in Houston in the following weekend.

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have (1 Cor. 13:4-5). Marriage is a classic act of freedom. Marriage partners, by leaving their natural family ties, break out of networks of necessity and predictability and at that moment become prime movers in the politics of freedom. This is true even in an arranged marriage: though the free will of the partners is not consulted, the arrangement is a result of someone’s choice and not the mere product of biological necessity. Every marriage, then, introduces into society fresh energies of love and freedom that have the power to unself not only the lovers themselves but America itself. The mere introduction of these energies is not enough, however, or we would have become Utopia long since. They need continuing and perfecting. Where can we get that but in Christ? A prayed and praying faithfulness carries us into the long life of love in which and by which the world will not perish.

That’s why Apostle Paul used marital relationship to describe the love we have in Christ, “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the 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 Savior. 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 this 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” (Eph 5:22-32). It is out of free will that we offer ourselves to Christ in marriage. It is not out of biological necessity or political manipulation for us to enter into this intimate relationship with Christ. It is totally an act of freedom. It is out of freedom of love that a wife will submit to her husband. And it is also an act of freedom that a husband will love his wife sacrificially.

The more I meditate on this passage on marriage, the more I am convinced that Apostle was thinking about the relationship of Christ and the Church. Yes, it is an ideal marital relationship. But we are limited by our human ability and egocentric tendency. I wished I could make my wife holy and blameless. But I can’t. I try my best to feed and care for my wife. But in reality, it is a mutual feeding and caring relationship. That’s why I believe Apostle Paul was describing the loving relationship of Christ and the Church. As a church or a wife, all we need to do is to submit to our Husband or Christ, and enjoy the abundant love, security, nourishment and cleansing from Him. O how blessed we are to have a husband like Christ! Let’s enjoy our intimate relationship with Him today.

Love you because of Christ,

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