This morning I was sitting in the coffee shop on campus, just spending time with my Jesus. As I opened my heart to his words, I was given a revelation of reflection. Of how every relationship on this earth was created to be a reflection of God. From parents, to marriage, to friendships, every one is designed for us to learn more about who Jesus is to us and how to glorify him through those relationships. Jesus opened up my eyes to the portrait he has created in every relationship I am in. Though I've had my share of ups and downs in each, I have been blessed in the area relationships. Incredible friendships and relationships that have taught me what I want, as well as relationships that have taught me how Jesus shows himself though a person. I've been blessed with a loving, forgiving father. I've seen restoration and love in my mother. And I'm lucky enough to know what a godly, successful marriage looks like through the people Jesus has placed in my life. Every day I learn how to become a better friend, a better wife, and a better daughter all through the relationship I have with Jesus.
The Friend: Jesus offers himself to us as not only a Savior and King, but as a friend. He humbles himself, takes himself off the throne to be there for us, to encourage us, to listen to us, to let us cry on His shoulder, to get angry with him, to ask him questions, to be our encourager, to be our comfortor...
He, who created the world. Who gave us life. The one who put each start into place, who made the galaxies, who creates the sunrise every morning, who sits on a throne in heaven with MILLIONS of people falling at his feet in worship. That Creator takes himself from the place of honor to come sit with us. To spend time with us. To be there when we need him. To love us when we are unlovable. To forgive us when we betray him. To know us for our heart and potential and not remember us for the times we've messed up. This is Jesus: the best friend. I'm so amazed at the way Jesus show's himself through my friends. I have been blessed with a handful of amazing, talented, god fearing friends, but I have been given the 2 most incredible, god fearing, loving, forgiving girls to call my best friends. They amaze me every day by the way they show Jesus to me. They forgive me, they listen to me, they make time for me, they are my shoulder to cry on, they give me the lessons I need, they teach me more about Jesus every day. They learn everything they know about being a friend by their friendship in Jesus. I am so thankful that I have friends who know what it means to truly forgive. To truly accept. To have the strength to put away their offense and pride in order to be the best friend they can to me. Thank you Jesus for your reflection in my best friends.
The Father: I'm not sure what kind of relationship you have with your father. I dont know how you've been hurt, or what image you get in your mind when you hear the word "father," but I do know what kind of father God the Father is. Its amazing to me that a being that can seize our breath at any moment, wants to be called our Father. There is a verse that always touches my heart in Jeremiah of God crying out from the heart:
"I thought to myself 'I would love to treat you as my own children!' I wanted nothing more than to give you this beautiful land- the finest possession in the world. I looked forward to your calling me 'Father,' and I wanted you never to turn from me." -Jeremiah 3:19
He wanted so bad for the people of Isreal to become his children and call him "Father". To run to his arms. To be able to provide for them. To be able to give them the desires of their heart. For them to recieve his unconditional love. To be loved by his children. To protect and to comfort them. This is our God. This is THE FATHER. Regardless if your own father has been this for you, this is what God desires our father-son or father-daughter relationships to be like. If you have a godly father, BE THANKFUL. Be thankful that you are able to have a clear image of Jesus as a father. Be thankful that you dont have to be hesitant to put your trust in him. Be thankful that you are able to recieve the Father's love without hesitation. For the ones who have been hurt by their fathers, who have been left behind and abandoned because of selfishness and fear in their hearts, I appologize. It hurts, but have faith in the truth that that broken relationship with YOUR father wasnt what a father was intended to be like. Thats not what you have to expect your husband to be to your children, or what you have to expect out of Jesus. One of my favorite things about God the Father (because I'm so relationship/marriage minded) is the idea of God the Father being the gaurd of our hearts. Just as a father protects his daughter from the 'jerks,' our heavenly Father does the same thing! If he doesnt approve, he wont let the guy get any further than a "Hello". He has expectations for His sons and daughters. He knows what they deserve and when youre accepting him as a father, you know that you dont want anything less than what He wants for you. He knows whats best.
The Bridegroom: Jesus, the groom. My absolute favorite. Marriage has to be one of the single most important things to me. It really is my life goal to have a successful marriage and to be an amazing wife. Its more than a goal, it really is a passion for me. God has revealed to me over the past couple years of what a relationship and marriage is really for. As selfish people, we often look at marriage as for ourselves, something that will give us OUR 'happily every after', to make US happy, to let US be loved. We often look at a relationship and say, "What can I get out of this?" This is the completely the opposite mindset of what God had in mind for a marriage. I really believe that the "me me me" mindset in a relationship and marriage is the number one way Satan destroys our marriages, and warps our image of Jesus the bridegroom, making us reluctant to really "fall in love with Jesus". There is a passage in Hosea where God says "You will call me 'My Husband' instead of "My Master'" (Hosea 2:16). Gods view of his marriage with us all revolves around selflessness. Who are we to be able to FALL IN LOVE WITH HIM?? Who are we that he would be faithful to us when we arent faithful? We hurt him every single day. We break his heart EVERY single day. Does he give up on us? No. Does he tell himself "I'm being hurt more than I'm being helped, so I'm just gonna disgard this relationship." ABSOLUTELY NOT. The more he's hurt, the harder he works to win us back to him. Did you hear that? HE WANTS TO WIN US!!! He pursues us! The GOD OF THE UNIVERSE PURSUES US!!! I'm sorry but this is just so amazing to me. I really get fired up about this. You know when youre in love and that person is all you can think about and everything they do just makes you fall more in love? Thats the way Jesus feels about you. He delights in EVERY move we make. He just cant get enough of us. He's in love with us. He wants to SHOWER US with love and gifts and blessings. He is faithful to us when we are unfaithful, because thats who he is. He is faithful. He is in love with us. He is in awe of your beauty. What do we add to His life? The creator, the savior, the Almighty? Nothing. We add absolutely nothing to his life. He is the same with or without us. We do wrong to him WAY more than we do good. He doesnt ask himself "what will they do for me," he asks "what can i do for THEM to show how much I love them?" That is selfless love. That is pure love. That is the love that God has intended to be reflected in our marriages, and even in our relationships. Selflessness. Is it gonna be easy? No. Was it easy for Jesus to be crucified so that we might FALL IN LOVE WITH HIM? No. It wasnt easy. But he did it because he's commited to you. This is what God intends in our marriages. Take the idea of "me me me" out and start loving the way God loves you.
This is our God. Father, Groom, and Best Friend. What are we to Him? We are sons and daughters of the King. We inherit every blessing. He makes promises to us that he KEEPS. He provides for us. We are here to honor our Father in everything we do, just as we are intended to honor our parents in everything we do (If you are a godly parent, your Children honoring God first and foremost should be honoring to you). We were made to give and recieve love from the Father. We are the bride. We are the pure, spotless, bride dressed in white. Live a life that is worthy of being the bride of Jesus. Honor him, make yourselves clean and pure in his sight, and fall in love with Him. We are his best friend, his beloved. Make time for him, listen to his voice, and know his heart. This is Jesus. Everything we have on earth is a reflection of who he is. Realize that and strive for that in every area of your life.