Monday, October 19, 2009

Benefits of the Betrothed

“I love weddings! Drinks all around!”

Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, The Curse of the Black Pearl

Engagements are occasions to celebrate.

Once THE question is asked and answered (in the affirmative, of course), a new relationship begins – a betrothal. Love has been admitted, declared, accepted and reciprocated and sealed by a promise (and usually sparkly diamonds, too!) Even the vocabulary changes… he’s not just my boyfriend, he’s my fiancé. A sense of exclusivity leads to benefits claimed only by the betrothed and no one else. He looks at me when I walk into the room, he holds my hand, he sends me endearing notes with reminders of affection, he pays for my dinner, he spends his free time with me, he tells me his secrets… it’s the road to becoming unified. Experiencing all of the benefits of a relationship still waits for after the wedding, but the betrothal certainly kicks it up a notch.

In the same light, there are benefits to a relationship with Jesus during the betrothal, while we still live here on earth, before Heaven and our wedding. Discovering these benefits takes a lifetime of pursuit simply because so many exist! So many, in fact, that I struggled to determine which ones to highlight in such a short amount of space. I mean, the Bible is a love letter from the Lord outlining the benefits of agreeing to the conditions that betroth us to Him.

One of my favorite passages, which must be the favorite of lots of others since I’ve seen it on a few blogs lately (and I promise, I was already thinking about this before I read those), is Psalm 103 (click here to read all of it!).

Verse two states plainly, “forget not all His benefits” (NIV).

The NLV puts it this way, “may I never forget the good things he does for me.”

And just check out this list of good things:

ª forgiving all my sins,

ª healing all my diseases,

ª crowning me with love, tenderness and mercy,

ª filling my life with good things,

ª and renewing my youth.

I’d say that goes beyond good and hits the amazing mark!

Any relationship suffers, however, when one or the other begins taking advantage of the benefits – key word being taking.

One taker and one giver equal an unbalanced and unfair relationship.

Two takers equal a state of misery.

Two givers, though, and we’ve got the makings of a beautiful thing.

When we’re working on human relationships, we can employ such concepts with a fair amount of effort.

But since we don’t often think of Jesus as our Betrothed, we seldom stop and think how much we take advantage of such a giving God.

It’s not that we should try to make up for His unconditional love, His forgiveness, His mercy and grace… We can’t. And He doesn’t want us to. This isn’t an issue of guilt or getting to a place of deserving such benefits.

It’s an issue of gratitude. We cannot make the mistake of defining His benefits as entitlements.

To see Jesus as the Hero in our love story, we should treat Him, at the very least, the way we’d treat our own, personal Prince Charming.

Don’t you think that after the prince slid that glass slipper on Cinderella’s foot, took her out of the ashes, out of an unloving home away from the evil stepmother and sisters, that she’d do anything for him for the rest of her life? Wouldn’t gratitude rule her attitude, not guilt or pride or indifference… or the sense of entitlement?

Compared to Jesus, Prince Charming had it ridiculously easy. Yet his betrothed had reason enough to worship him.

How, then, could we consider Jesus in any lesser or dimmer light?

Maybe that’s why in Psalm 103, in addition to listing the benefits (for our benefit), we’re reminded to “forget not.”

Oh, if we only knew how much He loves us.


Deanna Gott said...

Great Job!!! Made me go back and read my post on this awesome Psalm.... I don't know you Lori, but I love you! One day we will dance around the throne together!

KM Wilsher said...

Nice post! I loved this. This reminded me of a time I went to a whole day women's conference liking Jesus' love for us to a the Jewish wedding traditions. So much of what he says likens his love for us like a Jewish bride.

Really like this - its a keeper :)

LynnRush said...

Amen! Great post, lori.