I'm curious if becoming a Christian is somewhat like an arranged marriage. I've never been in an arranged marriage- I had a blind date once that was a disaster- but there is that intriguing mystery of thinking about what it would be like. In some parts of the world it isn't unheard of, so it's conceivable that some day I might meet a woman who entered into an arranged marriage. Until then, I'll just have to use my imagination.
Perhaps the groom is one that she's heard stories about, but has never met. She may have a picture of him, or even chaperoned visits, but not the opportunity to really know him until the "I do's." Whether he's nice or distant remains to be seen. How long would it take to fall in love with a stranger? How long until that stranger has learned to love her, too?
One difference between the arranged marriage and our relationship with God? He doesn't need any effort to fall in love with us! He is madly, deeply, head-over-heels in love with us! It may take effort on our part, but none on His. He loved us before we were even born because God is love. It is His character and He cannot deny Himself.(Sidenote: He loves us enough to hold us accountable, too!)
I John 4:9-10 "By this the love of God is revealed in us: that God has sent his one and only Son into the world so that we may live through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins."
God may not need to figure out this "love thing" toward us, but we have a lot to learn on how to love Him. We do this through the strength and power of the Holy Spirit. Not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Living God! I'm getting excited just writing this out! It is an exciting journey to get to the understanding that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead can work in our lives (Romans 8:11). The most important thing the Spirit's power will teach us is how to love, because the greatest commandment is to LOVE. Mark 12:30 says we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves. It is out of this love that God can use us.
Like any relationship, it will take work to learn how to love God with all that we are. It takes discipline, hard-work, and sacrifice. But as we keep our eyes fixed on God's love for us and really make an effort to spend daily time with Him, it won't be a burden, it will be a blessing! Some brides are terrified of their arranged marriages and at one point in time people had to be afraid of God. He was so perfect that only a few people could be in His presence. After Jesus, though, all that fear is gone and we can come to the Altar of Commitment fearless, balanced with awe and humility. Read the scripture below and allow yourself to fall in love a little more with the God who sacrificed so much to reach us.
Hebrews 12:18-24 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.