My husband and I stopped courting a long time ago. With three kids, two still in their elementary years, romance is an afterthought. We are lucky to have a date now and then, but it is not sporadic. Quite the opposite in fact. It has to be well planned out with plenty of notice.
Now I am not complaining. In fact, I think this kind of relationship is a great thing. You see, the courting process, a term maybe better explained as the "trying to impress times," is a lot of work. You are basically trying to prove to the other person that they should like and love you. You have to be always on- the best version of yourself, even if you have had a no-good terrible day. And although that season of love is new and exhilarating, can you imagine living that way all the time?
It is exhausting to perform, to be our best all the time. Right?
There is something so great about being secure in a loving relationship. It is a different kind of love to be already chosen by someone.
And yet do we recognize that God loves us the best this way? He is the one who created us to be who we are. He formed us with His hands and chose to save us even when we were dead in our sins. He loves us on our great days, terrible days, and every moment in between.
But do we really live secure in His never-ending, leave the 99 to chase us down love for us?
I have not lived this way for most of my life. Contrarily, I have lived as though God wanted me to better before I can earn the full measure of His love. I have treated God more like an employer or a sports coach who is measuring my performance, than a husband who has already chosen me to be His bride.
Is it any wonder though that we have a hard time accepting this kind of unconditional love? We were born and raised in this culture my friends. This culture that measures everything. We were spoon-fed to hustle, earning grade marks and accolades for measuring up since before we were kindergartners.
We have to be diligent to examine our hearts and motives so we don't conform to the ways of the world. We must understand what measuring systems we prescribe to and allow the Holy Spirit to renew our minds to the ways of God's Kingdom. The ways of love that are so great it changes our motivations from fear and shame, to known and loved.
He already chose us to be His bride. We are His beloved and He is infinitely more gracious and extravagant with His love than we have ever known from another human.
I am growing in accepting this radical love as I follow God, and mess up wildly only to realize He still loves me, but I still have a long way to go. So my challenge to myself, which I pray you will join me in, this valentines week, is to live like the chosen bride of Christ. I am going to challenge my motives when they move toward striving for affection and remember I am already chosen. When I start feeling not good enough, I will remind myself that there is no scorecard in the Kingdom of God. There is loads of grace and unfailing love for those whose hearts remain open to His love. And I am going to read and pray these scriptures over myself and all of you because they are the truth that sets us free.
Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. Ephesians 1:4-5
Long ago the Lord said to Israel:“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. Jeremiah 31:3
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8
For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,”
says the Lord, who has mercy on you. Isaiah 54:10
It is amazing to be known like really known with all the good and bad hanging out, and still be loved by the King of Kings. And that is what we are. Loved. Period.
Happy Valentines Day!
Papa, Thank you for your never-ending, never giving up on us love. Help us to live loved. It is so countercultural to the way we were raised. So help us to see our motives and with the Holy Spirit's power living in us, break us from the lies we believe. Help us to learn your Kingdom ways in our hearts so we can walk in your love as your chosen bride- known and loved. In Jesus' name, Amen.