To Know You Is To Love You

"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

Matthew 7:21-23

Not the kind of passage you might think one would use to encourage married couples but I pray you will bear with me as we consider this verse in context. At first glance it would appear that Jesus cant be pleased or at least not very easily. Some read these verses in Matthews gospel and think, "See, you can never do enough to please the Lord" or maybe you might read this passage above and get the idea that to stay in "good with God you need to "Do more, try harder" Yet, the truth is, the message Jesus is communicating is the very opposite. Our problem is we attempt to measure our faith and even our marriage by what we do instead of celebrating what has already been done. The motive of true faith is what God has done for us and not what we can do or have ever done for Him.  

Let me attempt to illustrate the point using my wife as an example… Lets say on our Anniversary this year I make my wife dinner. And not just any old dinner, I mean I go all out. We have been married almost 36 years and I have only fixed her dinner a handful of times. And for good reason. I am why Takeout was invented. Its people like me who gave birth to the fast food industry, the health department and ambulatory services.

But for the story sake here after watching an episode of the old popular television show "Throw Down with Booby Flay" lets pretend I can cook and so I go the Vons Grocery Store around the corner from our home and get some shrimp and vegetables and rice along with some bread and for dessert I get some A&W Rootbeer and some Bryers Vanilla Bean Ice cream. I set the table using real plates and silverware along with place mats and chargers too, and get everything done so that when my wife walks in after she gets home from work all she has to do and sit down and eat.

But wait, there’s more! As she makes her way to the table I have some Berry Manalow music playing softly in the background, candles lit (even though it’s only 4:30 p.m.) and I pull the chair out for her and place the napkin in her lap. She is smiling from ear to ear and then I go and get the main course, huge coconut shrimp cooked to perfection along with the giant rootbeer floats in frosted mugs! As I approach the table she starts to cry… Obviously she must be overwhelmed, I mean after all, look at the effort I put into the meal. She looks up and says to me with tears streaming down her face, "You don't love me".

Now… I'll stop the story here to ask you a simple question, "what is the impression you get of my wife from this story?” Don't worry, it’s a rhetorical question and the events never took place. I think the average person hearing this story would get or could get the impression that my wife is ungrateful or that she is at least very hard to please. Much the same way I think people can read the story from Matthew 7 and arrive at the same conclusion with regard to pleasing God.

The truth is regarding my wife in my make believe story for illustration purposes only is that like I said, we have been married almost 36 years and in 36 years of married life I can tell you without hesitation my wife hates coconut shrimp (hate is not to strong a word to describe her feelings for coconut shrimp) almost as much as she loathes rootbeer floats. So the point is this. If I were to fix those two items and offer them to my wife as a gift, as a token of my love and appreciation for her she would have every right to respond by saying something like, "You don't love me, you don't even know me" if you think after 36 years of being married you thought doing that is what pleases me or if you thought that this was what I would have wanted." I could get all upset and say something like, "I did it for you" and she could respond, "if you knew me you wouldn't have done that to begin with.”  

Marriage like Christianity is not based upon a "to do list" but on a relationship. Marriage is to be a reflection of the godhead, a picture of completeness or oneness. It’s not about doing, it’s about knowing. Consider Jesus words in  Mark 3:13-14, "And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach," First and foremost Jesus chose the 12 disciples to be with Him. And as well, first and foremost with regard to your faith, Jesus chose you to be with Him. Jesus didn't save us just to send us out, He saved us to draw us in so that we could be with Him. The Good News of the Gospel is Jesus and knowing Him as our personal Savior and Lord.

In Revelation 3:20, Jesus says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me." In eastern culture to invite someone to sup was a sign of friendship, a desire for relationship. Remember the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 12… A great reminder that the best part of relationships is in the knowing, the spending time together. Luke 10:38-42 says, “Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."

Jesus, more than anything wants us to know Him, what He has done for us…What makes an anniversary is first a wedding. To celebrate an anniversary is to celebrate a wedding all over again. To go back to what got you here. Abiding in Christ is like abiding in your marriage. It’s saying with joy, “I’d marry you all over again.” The beauty of communion is reflection… Remembering the Lord and what He has done for us! In marriage an Anniversary it’s reflecting back to your wedding day and remembering and rejoicing in what brought you together to begin with. Reflection in marriage?

That reminds me of the story about the guy who wakes up in the middle of the night and goes down stairs… after some time his wife rolls over and notices he is gone and she gets up looking for him and notices him sitting there in the dark at the kitchen table clutching a cup of coffee starring aimlessly out the window. She turns the light on and asks him if everything is Ok and he says then why are you sitting in the dark here in the kitchen at 3:00 a.m. in the morning? He said, “I was just thinking". Thinking about what his wife asked. With tears starting to stream down his face he says, "sit down, what I have to say is hard for me to find the words". She sits down across from him and he says, "Do you remember the night of our first date?" She smiles at him and says, "Yes". He says, "do you remember how we were making out in my car in front of your house when your father came outside and saw us and how he turned around and went back in side?" Yes, his wife responded. "Do you remember how the door of my car flung open and there your father stood pressing his shotgun into my chest and how he said to me, "no man is going to be kissing my daughter like that unless he plans on marrying her or spending the next 25 years in prison." The man’s wife says, "Yes, I remember, but whats the point?" The point is, "As I was laying in bed tonight I realized tomorrow would have been the day I would have been released from prison."

Like I said, reflection in marriage is reflecting on what brought us together is the proper reflection. Revelation 2 serves as a great reminder for both our faith and our marriage with regard to the proper way to reflect. When your life gets off track or your marriage gets off track go back, go back and reflect. Follow the steps laid out in Revelation 2. Jesus says in Revelation 2:5, "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent." Remember these steps.

1. Remember from where you have fallen…
2. Repent… change your mind, agree with God
3. Redo those things you once did… what were you doing when you first fell in love with Jesus? Resting in the finished work of the Cross, enjoying Him in the Word and prayer.

In marriage what were you doing? You were making time for one another, you were spending time together investing into one another. Would you like to have a great Anniversary this year that won’t cost you a penny but the experience might just be priceless? If so, go back and reflect. What do I mean? First, pull out your bible and go back and read God's love letter to you, read the Gospel account of Jesus last night with His disciples and the Super he had with His disciples and how He loved them by serving them as He washed their feet. Remember how Jesus went to the Cross and died for them and how three days later He rose again from the grave and came and showed Himself to His disciples and how them seeing Him and being with them changed and transformed their lives.

What changed them was not what the disciples did for Jesus but what happened when they finally understood what Jesus hd done for them. The beauty of reflection is realizing at the deepest place of our being that we were chosen, that we are loved. Now, if you are married, don't worry about Hallmark cards, don't even worry about fixing a romantic dinner or even buying flowers this year.

As a husband loving your wife as Christ loves the church, love her by taking her back, by helping her reflect on how you felt and what you thought of her when you first fell in love. In essence, tell her all the reasons you said “I Do” to begin with and why each and every day since you still “Do”. Tell your wife you have plans for your anniversary this year and it’s not going to cost you a penny. Explain to your wife that you want to sit with her and go through your wedding album together, that you want to look at all the pictures in your album together and relive every moment when you first met her and fell in love with her. Relive the moment you chose her. If you really want to score big points, show some real emotion, let the tears fall as you share of your love for her.

The greatest realization of the Christian life is understanding that you were chosen by God in Christ. The greatest joy of the Christian faith and of marriage is being together, and becoming one. In John 17, Jesus great earthly prayer Jesus prayed in verse 3, "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." Grow in knowing. Make the goal of your faith to know Jesus and make it the goal of your marriage to know your spouse. I tell couples that are engaged or married that the best marriage manual in your marriage is the one right in front of them. Learn to read each other, study one another and make it your life goal to know each other, not just facts but to really know one another as you walk through this life together.

Know this too, no one ever gets tired of knowing they are chosen, knowing ever grows tired of knowing they are loved! It really is true, loved one, “To Know You Is To Love You”.

“I have compared you, my love, To my filly among Pharaoh's chariots.”

Song of Songs 1:9


Michael Osthimer





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