When a bride commits her life to her groom, she promises to “love, honor, cherish, and obey… for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” There is nothing conditional in these words. A bride does not vow to love only when her groom is loveable, to honor only when he is honorable, to cherish as long as there’s something in it for her, to obey as long as she trusts his judgment, or to remain committed as long as it’s easy. She commits to love her groom wholeheartedly. She commits to being completely His.
God wants us to do the same in our relationship with Him. He wants us to love Him with a reckless abandon kind of love. A love that says, “I’m going to love you no matter what it takes, no matter where it takes me, even if the going gets tough or times get hard. I’m going to love you. Period. And that will never change.”
In Every Woman’s Battle, I describe an incredibly vivid dream I had several years ago as a result of asking God to show me what women need to understand about His heart for them. In my dream, a bride is milling around the room, soaking up the praises and adoration of her wedding guests. However, her groom is nowhere to be found. As I scan the room, he finally comes into my view. He’s standing in a corner, looking down at the wedding ring his bride has just placed on his finger. Yet, he is shedding tears of sadness because she doesn’t feel the need to have him by her side. She isn’t introducing him to her friends, and he appears to feel shunned. As his tears fall onto his hands, I notice the nail scars, and realize that the groom is Jesus.
I awoke from my dream with a sick feeling in my stomach. “Lord, is this how I made you feel when I was looking for love in all the wrong places?” I wept at the thought of hurting Him so deeply.[i] As I have become more aware of the pain I cause my beloved Bridegroom when I fail to cling to Him, I’ve become more motivated to forsake all others.
Are you ready to do the same? Are you ready to cleave only to Him, regardless of where that takes you? If so, let’s look at some of the things we need to leave behind if we want to find genuine fulfillment and learn to love Jesus without limits.
[i] This passage excerpted from Every Woman’s Battle (Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook Press), 162-163.
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.