Time for the question of the week, (which honestly, could be more aptly named ‘question of 2011’. Sorry guys! If you sent in a question that I haven’t responded to yet, know that I’m gonna do my best to get to it before Jesus comes back!)
Amber, who sent in the question, stumbled across a previous post of mine where I processed through how we can respond to lust in our lives. I shared a tool for fighting sin called ‘ANTHEM’ from John Piper.
Johnny P points out that one of the biggest parts of fighting sin is enjoying the superior satisfaction that we have in Christ. Amber pointed out that words like ‘enjoy’ and ‘adore’ call to mind an image of romance. Are we supposed to be romantic with God? How are we supposed to understand and receive God’s love in order to enjoy Him? Phew. Great questions. Let’s start at the beginning:
Is our relationships with God supposed to be romantic?
I hear this question a lot. For lots of us it seems strange to think of God in a romantic way. For some gals out there, it’s not weird at all. I’ve seen no shortage of bumper stickers and t-shirts and even whole conferences dedicated to single girls who are determined to let God be their husband.
Neat idea, but confusing for me. It sure seems to me like there are a couple of key functions that a husband performs that God doesn’t. Plus, God is my father and my friend. I don’t know anyone whose husband is also their dad, (not saying it’s never happened, but I think we can all agree, it’s not 100% the norm).
God isn’t literally my husband. However, I am wrong if I think God is somehow less than a husband. There isn’t a deeper delight than the delight we can have in Jesus. There isn’t a stronger affection and there isn’t a more intimate bond than the bond between Christ and His Church.
God calls Himself father and husband and friend, and He does it because He wants us to get that He is more than all these things, and He is less than none of them.
Earthly relationships are metaphors for Heaven. There’s a lot of confusion in Christian culture that can sometimes keep us thinking that a spouse or kids is the whole purpose of our existence; that those things are the goals of our lives. But, here’s the deal: if everything in our lives is preparing us for marriage or a family, what happens after those things? And if that’s what we’re ultimately made for, then Heaven is going to be a big fat disappointment. Go ahead and spend your life searching for ‘the one’, but know this: you won’t be married to them on the flip side.
God doesn’t think marriage is dumb or irrelevant but He does think that when we stand before Him face to face, marriage will have served its purpose in full. It will no longer be necessary.
Look around. Every single thing that God created, including fathers and husbands and friends, exists to help you understand Him a little better.
Time for some honesty. Sometimes I think that we try to shove God into the role of spouse because we want a husband more than we want God. We try to fit the omnipresent God of the Universe into the mold of ‘lover’ because we want Him to make us less lonely, make us feel more loved, give us a hug.
At the end of the day, it’s not Him that we want. We want to feel wanted, and we’re happy to ‘worship’ God if He can make that happen. We’ll use Him to serve our purposes.
God won’t be used. He is too big to be squished into one role in our lives. He is more than a husband and He is more than a father and He is more than a friend, and He won’t pretend to be less than He is.
That’s the long answer to the question.
The short answer is yes. Yes, our relationship with God is romantic. It’s beyond romantic. Any love story looks pathetic compared to the epic glory of God’s love for His people. There is no love that compares.
Think of the greatest love you’ve ever experienced, single or married, and know this: His love goes further still.
[I’ll answer part two of the question tomorrow!]