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picture perfect

Paul says,

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

1 Corinthians 13:11

There is a progression in our spiritual lives just as there is a progression in our natural lives.  First, we are born, then we move through successive stages in life, from child to adult to old age. We hope, as we mature, we gain wisdom and perspective.   Likewise, we are born again as new Christians, then we mature into saints and finally elders in the faith.  At each stage of our spiritual walk, our views deepen and some even change.  Today I would like to speak about how, as we mature in Him, we assume certain “pictures” in God.

The mystery of picture-perfect love

In the beginning, the dating game is a big mystery.  We desire to be close to that certain girl or guy, but we have absolutely no idea how to do it. Girls and boys experience puppy love or “crushes” on others they find attractive. Sometimes our hearts are broken, but we eventually we find our way.  Once we fall in love, the need for intimacy with the person we love grows.  At first, a kiss or hug thrills us to our toes, but before long we want much, much more.

Who we marry and why seems to be a very personal matter.  In fact, at least in the western world, many consider it their right to fall in love and wed whomever they want.  While, in times past, men used to seek the approval of the woman’s father, even that seems old-fashioned today.  Many times parents only learn about their son’s or daughter’s betrothal after the fact.

Does God really approve?

Even getting God’s approval seems to be “optional” for many Christians because they feel that they are free to choose whomever they wish.  Most consider that bedding a woman is tantamount to God’s approval of their choice.  Many believe that the act of intercourse means God must join them together physically and spiritually. However, is this really the case?

Just because you have sex, under whatever circumstance you decide to have it, doesn’t mean God must honor your decision.  The fact is, God only blesses the choices He makes and not the choice you force upon Him.

God does not honor what He does not author

The truth is that God does not have to honor what He does not author.  If God’s Spirit did not lead you to join with a man or woman, He does not have to recognize your choice. Two people deciding to have sex without God’s express leading, breaks God’s picture. This brings me to the main point of this essay:

 “We should decide to conform to God’s picture-perfect will even in our most intimate relationships.”

If we want God’s blessing, we must be in God’s will.  If we desire to have the favor of the Lord in our lives, it stands to reason that we should seek to become whatever He desires. This means that we should seek a spouse that is God’s choice. Moreover, once we find our God-given mate, the family we create should fit His picture, too.

Our Father loves His pictures

Our Father loves to set examples through pictures.  All throughout the Old Testament men and women of God were led to do certain things, in certain ways so that their actions would be lessons to future generations. Moses and Aaron were a picture of God and Christ. King Solomon was a picture of Christ in His kingdom.  The Children of Israel crossing the Red Sea was a picture of water baptism.  All these things that they did are examples for us today.  Their lives are pictures of eternal truths.

Our marriages and our families are no different.  The way we marry, and what we do in our marriages, are also examples of fundamental truths in God. Men are supposed to love their wives as Christ loves the church.  God encourages women to submit to their husbands and call them “lord”  like Sarah did with Abraham.

Dare to become the picture-perfect example God desires to portray.

If a man marries a woman God chooses, his marriage is blessed because he fulfills the picture of Adam and Eve. A woman who marries according to God’s leading is blessed because she fulfills the picture of Ruth and Boaz.  If both the man and woman act like Christ and His church, their marriage is blessed because they look like the Bride of Christ.

If there is no submission, there is no blessing

Conversely, if a man takes a woman not chosen of God, they are not blessed because they break God’s picture.  If a woman does not submit to her husband she will not be blessed because she breaks God’s picture too. If both the man and woman do not honor God in their choice of mate, God will not honor them in their marriage.

In view of this, doesn’t it make sense to seek to conform to the picture God wants us to show?  Why not please our Father by deciding to be the best picture possible.  God honors all sorts of pictures, you just have to find the one that applies to your life. If God wants a wife to submit, why not do it with your whole heart?  If God wants a man to love his mate as the weaker vessel, why not do it with all your strength?

The cost of breaking one of God’s pictures

Moses pictured many, many truths in God’s scripture.  In fact, practically everything Moses did was a picture-perfect type of Christ.  Moses walked so closely with God everything he did was practically picture perfect.

However, one time Moses broke one of God’s pictures and it cost him dearly. In the wilderness, the children of Israel became thirsty.  Therefore, Jehovah commanded Moses to strike a certain rock only once for water to come out as drink for His people.  Our Lord intended to paint the picture that Christ would die only once for the sins of the people. However, in anger and frustration, Moses struck the rock twice. Moses broke God’s picture. As punishment, Moses had to fulfill another picture of Jesus dying before entering the promised land.

Marriage, oddly enough, is not your decision

Marriage is not about us.  Matrimony is not about what we want. Finding our mate is a picture of God finding a mate. To the extent that we conform to this picture, God blesses our union. When we allow God to choose our mate, He automatically gives us the desires of our heart.

God’s picture-perfect family

In conclusion, realize that you and your family are the perfect picture that God wants to show the world. Jesus redeemed us, and we owe him everything.  As servants of the Most High we want to do is His will. Marriage and procreation are not about us, but about what God wants to show through us.  True blessings lie in our spouses and our children conforming to whatever picture God desires to paint.  God blesses us if we deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and become His perfect picture to the world.

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