“Grace to you, and peace from God, our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever, Amen.” Galatians 1:3-6
“You must receive your spouse as God’s perfect gift to you.” Jack Taylor
I remember hearing these words spoken in a seminary class 40 years ago at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, by a guest lecturer. I thought they were the most ridiculous words every spoken. At the time I was a single young man, and completely convinced there was no way this was possible. After all, no one is perfect. Remember. I was single for a reason. Sorry, Jack. You were right. I was wrong.
I missed the point. I had heard the word perfect, and the concept of receive passed over my head. In time, I fell in love with my beautiful wife, Dana. She was perfect! After the wedding, I became more and more familiar with my wife, and began the process of perfecting her, in my image, not receiving her as a finished work from God. One day she said, “You criticize every thing I do.” I am ashamed to say, I know she had said it before, but after several years, I finally heard it. It’s a man thing, but still terribly wrong.
What took place that day was a turn around, not in her life, but in mine. Receiving her as a gift from God became by focus, not changing her to fit my expectations. Praying for her, and hearing God speak to me about my attitude became a life-time journey of receiving her. Praying with her increased her value to me, and gave God elbow-room to make the changes He needed to make in both of our lives.
It has been a Great Adventure, and I am more in love with her today than I could ever have imagined. The value is in the receiving, not in the perfecting.
The love is found in accepting the whole person, or both sides of the coin, the side we see, and the side we discover. Trying to receive one side, and scrape off the other devalues a precious gift from God. Cherishing both, by seeking direction, protection and correction from God in prayer increases the value of placed on one another when both people are received as a perfect gift from God. Thanks, Jack.
In every relationship there are two sides to every issue, and there are two sides to each person. When we fall in love with one person, there are at least two people that we encounter. There is the person we think we know, and then there is the person we must choose to love. They are the same person.
Every coin has two sides. When a person receives the one they love, they get the total person, not just the one side they initially value most. Wise marriages are built by those who receive the person they think they know, and then grow to love the person they come to know.
Paul’s gracious prayer greeting presents the inseparable images of Almighty God and our Father, as a two sided coin that has value only if neither image is marred. The same can be said of The Lord and Jesus Christ. Those who receive Jesus as Savior, also receive Him as Lord, at the same time. There is no point in the relationship at which a believer makes Jesus Lord. He is Lord. Believers don’t make Him into anything. He was there when the world was created. He doesn’t need fixing.
Believers never promote Jesus to Lordship. They recognize their rebellion and yield to His Lordship. Too often seekers hope to become believers by turning to The Father, but without any intention of ever yielding to the Sovereignty of God. Seekers remain on an endless search if they confuse genuine belief with an acceptance of Jesus, The Savior without receiving Him, as Jesus, The Lord. The two are one and the same thing.
Healthy churches are formed by Spirit-filled believers overflowing with the love of God, The Father and living under the jurisdiction of The Lord, Jesus Christ. Neither side of either image can be dispensed with or scraped off without devaluing the worth of the relationship, and spiritually bankrupting the church.
Prayer is the finest way to invest in a relationship. When we seek God in prayer, and receive Him as Our Sovereign and Our Father, we do not add value to Him, but we grow in our love for Him. When we pray in the name of Jesus, The Lord we follow His lead, and receive, fresh and anew an appreciation for His sacrifice, and His on-going intercession in our lives.
Praying with our spouse, and with our children, rather than constantly trying to perfect them into our image, increases our appreciation for the gift God has given us. Prayerless spouses, and prayerless parents are resented for what they say, not for what they pray.
Note to self: Your wife knows what you have to say on almost every subject under the sun. It is time to pray with her in the name of The Son. Praying WITH her will add value to both of you.
The way you come on is the way you go on, in a relationship with God the Father, and The Lord, Jesus Christ. Praying to receive God’s love, through His Son, The Lord Jesus Christ, is the initiation of one’s prayer life, not the conclusion of it. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!