October 22, 2018: Beloved
October 22, 2018
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Today’s Bible Reading: Lamentations 1, Song of Solomon 6, John 6:60-71, 1 Peter 4:1-11 Song of Solomon 6: Remember that the approach we are taking is that this Song is to be interpreted both as a description of idyllic, wedded love, and as a description of God’s love for his people. (For an explanation of that approach, see the introduction to this book in the first devotional here.) Today, I am going to tease out just one of the phrases of this part of the love poem: “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” In our relationship with our spouses, if we are married, and in our relationship with Christ, if we are a Christian, there is a covenant commitment. That phrase “covenant commitment” can sound slightly dour to our ears, or distant, or merely legal. But the kind of covenant commitment that we have with Christ is not merely a commitment of determination. It is also a commitment of love. Read the Book of Hosea. God loves his people; his commitment to them is likened to a marriage commitment. Spend time today thinking about your relationship with God in these terms. He cares about you. He wants you. He wants to know you. Similarly, if you are married, spend some time today thinking about your marriage relationship in this way. There can be a tendency as we are married longer for the “flame” to die out, or least dwindle. There can be many reasons for that and also many solutions. Oftentimes it is helpful to go to a special marriage enrichment retreat or to talk to a pastor or a Christian counselor. But at root, and at its most basic, what we are looking for and needing is a renewal of commitment to each other. That the marriage is not merely an arrangement for the children or for the operations side of running a home, but is an intimate knowledge of each other: I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. How do you get that back if you have lost it or are losing it in your marriage? It starts with recognizing that you do need to get it back. And then it continues by seeking to not merely know about your spouse but to know your spouse. To listen – and really listen. To seek to understand, and not merely seek to explain what you think. The reason why couples stop talking to each other is because they stop listening to each other. What’s the point in talking to someone who doesn’t hear what you’re trying to say? Who interrupts to make their point? Who is only letting you talk so that they can take breath so they can talk? Listen, really listen. Of course, you will also need to talk. Some people find it very hard to say what they really think. Oftentimes it is because they don’t know what they really think. In prayer, perhaps using a journal, in your relationship with Christ, ask him to give you clarity about what you should say; ask him to show you your identity as in Christ. And out of the security of that relationship – that covenant, passionate love of God for you – then relate to your spouse with real communication. That is with honest talking and real listening. For, in Christ, and if you are married, in your marriage: “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”]]>
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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