In my last post, I explained the fact that Satan has some really great qualities, qualities we have probably all looked for in a mate, but these are surface level qualities that Satan is using to get the upper hand. And let’s face it, many times he has gotten the upper hand. Maybe because we are caught unaware, or because we are looking for the right thing in the wrong places, or because sometimes you just have to live and learn – And that is one reason why Satan is often our first love.
I know, many say Jesus is our first love, and maybe for a very few of you that is the case. But for most of us, Satan was our first love. We saw some really great qualities, some fun times, and probably out of ignorance or immaturity, we jumped right in, only to realize – sometimes a little too late – this was a mistake.
I remember my first love. I think of him like a really hard work out. Man, it felt good to begin with, but the longer I worked at it, the harder it got, until the point where I felt like I was going to die (remember everything is a little more dramatic in high school). And when it was finally, finally over with I just laid there, half hoping death would come and definitely wondering when this pain would end. But eventually I got up, and I was sore for a while, and each day I felt a little better and my muscles grew a little stronger. I learned a lot from that difficult workout. I learned a lot from my first love.
And then came my true love. My husband. And while we were dating, I remember thinking, this is what it is supposed to be like. This is what was meant for me… who was meant for me. It certainly isn’t always easy, but it always, always seems worth it.
So are you still stuck with Satan as your first love, or are you ready to meet your true love? Who was meant for you? And if you are at the point where you realize God is your true love, do you recognize God is out there wooing you, pursuing you, reminding you of just how much he loves you. He wants nothing more than for you to fall completely, totally in love with him. And like a smitten teenager, he is going to great lengths to show you just that, both in the big things and in the little things.
First, he calls us his bride.
Out of all the relationships God could have chosen to compare us to, he chose the bonds of marriage. That was not a coincidence. He could have compared our relationship to master and servant, brother and sister, or really great friends, but over and over in the scripture, he refers to the church as his bride. In Ephesians 5:25 Paul explains, “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.” Jesus sacrificed himself so that he could ready us for our eternal wedding day. He died in order that we may be presentable and worthy to be the bride of Christ. Now, if any man here on earth was doing that, you know the women would be lining up.
Which brings me to Ephesians 5:32. It says, “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” The first marriage covenant is with Christ and the church and all other marriages should be modeled after that – not the other way around. God designed marriage first to show His love for us. To show the sacrifices He was willing to make in order for us to spend eternity with Him. Marriage here on earth is secondary, and it is supposed to remind us of the love Christ has for us.
Next, God created this world we are living in, and he chose to make it beautiful.
Let’s be honest, here on earth, the wedding day is not always enough. Carrying the title of bride only lasts so long. And while Jesus totally understands the enormity of calling the church His bride, we don’t always get it. So he gave us more than just that (just that?!? Like that is something small!) He created this earth for us to live on, to dwell on, to make memories on and He made it absolutely amazing.
Just recently, my husband and I completed our new house. We worked many late nights on the house. Often times we had the kids in tow, we had both worked a full day at our “real” jobs, and supper was always questionable. But it never failed, at some point I would look out the back windows and see the sun creeping down over those pines, the colors erupting in the sky, and I would just stop and stare. It didn’t matter how tired I was or how loud the kids were at the time, the beauty was breathtaking. I couldn’t NOT praise God in those moments. He made this beautiful picture for me. He wanted me to know He was thinking about me, He was encouraging me, and He loved me. God knew just how stressed I was in those moments. He knew what I needed. And every time I watched the sun set in my almost – but will it ever be – finished house, God said to me, “This is a blessing. This is my blessing to you. This sunset. This house. This experience. This hardworking husband and family. These kids. All of this is a blessing and I love you.” And while sometimes that pep talk only worked for a few hours (he knows I am hard headed), I could always count on a sunset the next day.
And when I turn to the scriptures, they only reinforce God’s love for us through nature. Like my sunset, God has so many elements of nature he controls for us. Colossians 1:16 says” …And all things were created through him and for him.” He uses nature to show His love for us so that we will turn around and show our love for Him. And then in Psalm 95, it says “In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.” As He formed the dry lands, you can’t tell me He wasn’t thinking about me – and about you. The mountains, the beach, all these beautiful places people go for retreat. He knew we would need that. He knew sin would make this world ugly and his bride would need a reminder that she is loved and like this beautiful world he created, she is beautiful too.
Have you noticed? God winks at us.
There is this book entitled When God Winks. I haven’t had the pleasure of reading it but a friend shared the premise. It is about all the coincidences in our lives and how they are no coincidence at all. It is actually God shaping our lives. I do believe this to be true, but after hearing this title, it became something I would say to my children. If we saw something cool, I would say “God just winked at you.” Once my oldest found twenty dollars and no one would claim it, I said, “I guess God is winking at you.” When we look at the beauty of nature, like mentioned before, I will say, “God’s winking.” If we narrowly escaped a car accident, you guessed it, God winked (or maybe in that case He bopped us upside the head).
Either way, if we are playing attention, God is doing little things all day long to remind you He cares. In Psalm 3, God is referred to the “lifter of my head.” Man, I love that image and I believe those little winking moments are the moments when he helps us lift our head. Like when you have worked a 14 hour day, but still have to stop by the store for diapers because there are like NONE at home BUT when you get to the store, you get first row parking. God is winking. He is lifting your head. He is showing you he loves you. Or maybe money is tight one month and you are not really sure how it is all going to pan out, but the next day when you check the mail instead of getting another bill, your mortgage company sent you a check because you overpaid into escrow. Yep. God winked. He lifted your head. He said, “I love you!”
God shows us He loves us in countless ways, but we have to be paying attention. The Word of God is full of explanations of his love, but you have to open it up and read it to know. We are allowing Satan to stick around as our first love and distract us from our true love. In so many walks of life, we are settling. God, our true love, is out there. He has prepared us as His bride, he has given us an amazingly beautiful home, as temporary as it may be (and I won’t even speak to the beauty of our eternal home), and he sends us reminders all day long that he is there and has our best interest in mind.
I remember how hard it was to get over that first love. It ached down deep and it was like a bad habit that was hard to break. The devil, our first love, is going to hang on just like that. He’s going to make it hard to break up with him. But God – our true love – is waiting and wooing and courting you all along the way. Don’t let the comfort of that first love keep you from the everlasting joy of your true love.