Mom and I were on our way to Gracie and Jimmy’s soccer game.
“He’s just so good to you, ya know?” she said to me, her eyes on the road. “I mean, He’s been so gentle with you this whole time, and has totally provided for you, completely.”
As I sat and listened to Mom talk to me about the Lover of my soul, I was reminded of how so many people describe their significant others.
Good to me.
Thank You for how good You are to me, and for using Mom to remind me of how unbelievably gentle You’ve been with me, through all of everything. Thank You for how You shield me from so many things, most of which I am probably unaware. Thank You for the way You’ve so tenderly and lovingly correct, provided for, handled, comforted, and guided me up to this point, and for how You will do so from this day on…
In my daily devotions, I just finished reading through the book of Ephesians. Naturally, as I’m preparing to marry Jacob, I’ve been thinking a lot about chapter 5. And as Mom described how good God had been to me, it suddenly made sense.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.” (Ephesians 5:25-30, ESV)
What struck me, really, about this passage, was verse 29. The Amplified Version of the Bible presents it this way:
“For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church.”
Christ nourishes me, carefully protects me, cherishes me, cleanses me…What? I mean, I know, I know…God loves me…but Jesus Christ takes great care with me, is gentle with me, is tender towards me, and goes to the levels of intimacy that include cleansing and nourishing me, as He would His own body, since I am indeed a part of His body, the Church.
I’ve almost always seen this chapter as being a model for the roles of husbands and wives, and how marriage is meant to work, and I always knew the phrase, “You are ultimately submitting to God, and your respect of and submission to your husband is meant to be a service to God in and of itself.” But…but I’ve never realized how much it’s meaning to communicate about how Christ sees me, as part of the Church.
So how does this apply to my life?
My last post was my sharing with you the great struggle I have with the sin of unrighteous anger…And in the time between that last post and now, God has shown me through the passage of Philippians 2:3-4 and 4:6-7 that my anger often stems from self-dependence, a judgmental and critical spirit, and a concentration on my own interests. My tendency is to assume that I am the best, that I am the most wise, able, and disciplined person in the room, and never to believe that someone is better than I am. So, when in Philippians 2:3, God asks me to “in humility, count others as more significant than yourself,” it grinds against everything natural to me, and shatters my illusion of superiority…
Another, seemingly opposite side of it is that I too often become angry with others because I deeply care for them, but that originally good motive quickly turns into selfishness. In other words, just like in being able to see the world the right way, I have to depend on God to absolve my anger and replace it with wholehearted dependence on and complete trust in Him.
My sister and I made up, and realized both of us were off on that day, but the intensity of my anger and the lack of control I experienced terrified me. And this is not the first time.
But I remember God is bigger and can change me, when my own self control and self discipline fails me. In light of Christ’s desire to cleanse, nourish, and present me to Himself in pure splendor, I am greatly reassured of His faithfulness and forgiveness and ability to change me, despite how often it seems like I fall into anger, and fail. He is not done with me yet, and He is able to use something as dark as unrighteous anger to grow me to be more like Him, and to grow me closer to His heart. He is good to me.
“In Him we have redemption (deliverance and salvation) through His blood, the remission (forgiveness) of our offenses (shortcomings and trespasses), in accordance with the riches and the generosity of His gracious favor, which He lavished upon us in every kind of wisdom and understanding (practical insight and prudence).” (Ephesians 1:7-8, AMP)