Those are incredible requests, yet that’s what marriage entails—no other lovers on the side, no secret bank accounts, no higher loyalties—none. That’s what marriage means—or at least it ought to.
And certainly this points to one of the purposes of pre-marital counseling—to spell out what this commitment in marriage looks like. I want couples to read the small print, so that they can go beyond the romantic thrill associated with getting married and face up to the challenge, the commitment, and the devotion that marriage requires. Those who are getting married must first count the cost. I don’t want any husband or wife I marry to be able to say at some later point when the harsh winds of trials or hardship begin to blow, “That’s not in my contract!” For it is in your contract. Marriage demands everything of you. That’s what you sign up for—nothing less.
It’s a funny thing though. Even when they understand the unconditional contract of marriage, people still want to get married. In fact, they delight to get married. Why is that? Because there is something so attractive about their husband- or wife-to-be that they are drawn almost irresistibly to give of themselves to that person in love. They long to enter into that exclusive, intimate, loving relationship which marriage represents. They dream of the joy which marriage can bring. They long to entrust themselves to the other, for they believe that their marriage partner can be trusted with their very lives. So they do it.
People who are getting married don’t think of what they’re giving up; they think only of what they are gaining. They don’t think of it as some great sacrifice to be made, or some heavy burden to be borne, or some solemn duty to be performed for some greater good. Getting married is a joy; it’s a delight; it’s a cause for great rejoicing. They want everybody to know about it. A wedding is a public event, something to celebrate with a big party!
Becoming a follower of Jesus Christ must be like that, too. A Christian is one who wants to gain Christ. When you see his character, his truth, his trustworthiness, his overwhelming love and beauty, then you desire him as that precious pearl that is worth everything to obtain. It is with joy that you go and sell all that you have to gain that one precious pearl.
The Apostle Paul experienced that. He had an impressive resume, and much to be proud of, yet he writes, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:7-8). Nothing that this world has to offer can compare to this surpassing greatness of knowing of Jesus Christ.
Peter expresses the same excitement. He writes to the Christian believers of their experience of Christ: “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Pet. 1:8). It is a surpassing greatness, an inexpressible and glorious joy. This is what is offered to the follower of Jesus Christ. To gain Christ is to know a satisfaction, a delight, a deep contentment that this world knows nothing of. It is a present reality with the promise of an eternal reward. And that pearl can be yours—you, too, can be my disciple, Jesus says. Everyone can afford it—all it costs is all that you have. Do you mean everything, Lord? Yes, everything.
|Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7|
To view this full article on a single page, click here.
To receive electronic or hard copies of Knowing & Doing, click here.
To browse the Knowing & Doing archives of articles, click here.