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Relationship vs Rules

What bride wants to feel distanced from her groom? One of the most compelling factors that should motivate us to die to ourselves and submit to God’s correction is that sin causes us to be spiritually and emotionally separated from our Bridegroom.

 

A similar dynamic often takes place between me and my kids. Because I love them, I discipline them when they are not behaving as the godly young man or woman that they truly are. I can tell if they are genuinely repentant by the way they relate to me as I am correcting them. If their hearts are hard toward me, they have their arms folded and find it difficult to look me in the eye as I speak to them. But if they realize what they’ve done is wrong and are truly sorry for it, they’ll look directly into my eyes when I am talking to them because they want assurance that I forgive and love them. That’s how we are with God. Our hardened, sinful hearts cause us to want to run and hide from Him, just as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden. But our soft, repentant hearts long to restore our close connection with God and receive assurance that things are still good between us.

 

When we sense God’s displeasure and desire for our repentance and restoration, it’s a sign of His love for us. If you feel His correction, rejoice that you are deeply loved by your Creator and enjoy unbroken fellowship with Him by responding with a humble, repentant heart. However, if you are in sin, but do not feel conviction from God about it, you may need to ask yourself, “Have I somehow managed to kill my conscience? Have I alienated myself from God such that I am failing to hear His loving call to repentance?”

 

Because God so deeply desires unbroken communion with us, He loves us right where we are, regardless of how entrenched in sin we’ve become. However, He loves us far too much to just leave us there. While He has paid our bride price and provided us with a white wedding gown, He desires for us to live the way He sees us. He wants us to embrace our role as His bride, for that is ultimately where we will find peace and fulfillment.

 

CH - COVER
Excerpted from Completely His: Loving Jesus Without Limits by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2007.  All Rights Reserved. Published by WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO 80921. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.