Today was a good day. I found myself writing a lot about what it means to recognize godly masculinity, and the concept of re-dedication.
If you are naturally hard-wired to hate authority and love to control your own life, boy do you have a heart like mine. All throughout my childhood, adolescence, teenage years, and beyond, I had a lot of trouble grappling with authority. Playfully thinking today about my biggest character flaw growing up, I know for a fact that it has to do with my desire to be in control of myself, and to some extent, gain control over others. Sometimes I hate going to God with my problems because I don’t want to deal with what he might say to me. Inevitably, he will be right and it is entirely possible that we might disagree. If I had it my own way and could continue being stubborn as a mule until the day I die, I probably wouldn’t be all that different from how he found me. Go figure.
As if it were cut from the same cloth, I resent false teaching. The desire to distance from falsehood and yet the blindness to not notice my own sin spills over into when I certain that I’m right. No surprises there, but have you ever spent a moment to think about how without grace, we are all false prophets? We all elevate these “miracle solutions” for what we believe would fix our lives, even as we remain connected to the source. It’s absolutely bonkers because the radical love of God is the least surprising source of healing to those of us who have encountered it, and yet we turn away. What can I say? If there is anything I’ve learned about what it means to be human, it means showing partiality for that which involves yourself, which is why it’s fascinating that there is no partiality before God (I bet you it’s because he’s in all of us).
Anywhoo, there is authority that gives life, and there is authority that destroys it. As ignorant as I am in sin, I do not know the definition of goodness without a God who believes in mercy, and there I stumble. While I have known many authority figures that abuse their authority, God never does that. He is always patient. He abides. He understands far beyond what I could ever tell him, whether about his creation or the corners of my heart. His perfect love quenches my rebellion and eases that flame because when I trust in him, I’m trusting in goodness. I don’t trust an imaginary God who isn’t good for me. My God lives, he loves me, and he abides. What more could I want?
This is what marriage means, if we are thinking beyond that specific covenant. It comes down to being content. God’s supremacy isn’t a stumbling block because he abides and feels close to me. He knows me. He doesn’t invite me to hide or cower to stay distant from him. He uses all that good grace working for my behalf and the good of my supernatural family (those who love him). If no one accepts what I say as true, he validates it even more simply by making it heard. He esteems my life even when I’m wrong. He invites me to let go of what I can’t be invested in and what still wounds me, though it happens long ago. Our God is a god of mercy, and he doesn’t get tired of me. Like Isaiah 54:6, God redeems those who love him. In that scripture, Zion is likened to a wife deserted and bereaved, after she was married young and then forgotten. When the world casts us off, God remembers us, as in Proverbs 5:18, like a husband who rejoices in the wife of his youth. So many women feel forgotten, but given God’s goodness, you don’t have to. He teaches me what it means to not fear marriage and commitment because I know that he will provide for me. He is as a true husband, finishing what he’s started, good to his word, providing good things, useful, listening when I doubt and actively working to make a difference. He takes care of the people I love. For what would be over-the-top to expect of any other human, I can expect of him. He promised.
I have the example of his son Jesus to know what a man of God looks like, and to be able to learn to respect and recognize sacrifice. If we’re being honest, the love of mercy and the willingness to provide for the ones you love is even downright sexy. You’d be willing to do all of that for my sake? I think I might be willing to trust you.
The tenderness of God is a beautiful thing. The love of mercy in Christ is unlike anything i have ever seen, because it shows such overwhelming love. I can see how much marriage is supposed to mean by how Christ loved all of us, with an intimacy that transcended casual interactions and what is generally platonic. I can’t imagine loving someone romantically to the depth of Christ’s sacrifice, but he teaches me to react out of love instead of anger when I feel as though I’ve been wronged. I have victory and security in knowing Christ’s intentions, because he loved me first and his Holy Spirit pursued me. He creates joy in my life through all the goodness he puts in there. God executes these amazing works of love just to add to his own glory, because he can and he has more than enough to share. There is no insecurity in him. He is God.
I don’t have to sacrifice who I am for the love of God. He can make me new, but he never seeks to control me without my best intentions in mind, or fundamentally change me for selfish ambition that harms my life and the lives of others. He legitimately cares, and protects me because he wants the best for me. Getting used to the love of Jesus is the antidote for my striving heart, and it helps prepare me to look for help from the one who can actually give it to me, and to do so in the company of friends and loved ones. Later on, if I find a partner, you better believe I will know the right person to turn to when life gets hard, as it always does. My faith isn’t required of me to prove my worth, but it is an open invitation that I eagerly accept because it was offered to me. It is my choice, and choosing so fully consciously, I chose to rededicate my life to God.