The apostle Paul discloses the relationship between Christ and the church, which is a sober and intimate one—that of bridegroom and bride.
The Bible teaches us that we, the Church, are the Bride of Christ. In the same way
that a husband desires complete devotion from his bride, God requires our complete commitment, passion, faithfulness, and fidelity. He wants a relationship with us that is heartfelt, spontaneous, vibrant, alive, and reciprocal. In a healthy marriage, neither person wants the other to begrudgingly fulfill his or her marriage obligations out of guilt, condemnation or force but rather from a genuine heart commitment, conviction, and desire. If the husband or wife is merely going through the motions of being married, the marriage becomes nothing more than an empty, boring, and passionless living arrangement. The two people involved in this union are simply acting like a married couple rather than enjoying the benefits of truly being married.
It is little wonder that Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God first and foremost with all our hearts. He longs for authentic relationship with His Bride, not a mere religious obligation or empty ritual. God is not at all impressed by empty words or heartless platitudes. In fact, it makes him angry when our words and actions are not sincere. We must take care that our Christianity does not become mere lip service or hollow actions. God wants genuine relationships that stems from our hearts.
When we embrace God and his purpose wholeheartedly, it is easier to stay passionate about our faith, our spiritual disciplines, and every other aspect of our spiritual walk. All of our actions and activities flow from our love relationship with God rather than from an obligation to fulfill a Christian requirement. We possess a love for others, for church, for reading our Bibles, for praying and for giving and serving. We love what God loves and
desire to do what he does; it is the natural outflow of our hearts. Because love is so important, we must ensure that we continually strengthen our hearts, this core spiritual muscle. We can do this by spending quality time with God, staying in close communication with him and remaining obedient to his Word. It is through an intimate and daily relationship with God that we are able to give him our whole hearts.
Point to Ponder
Does God have your complete devotion? Until he does, you will not be able to love yourself or others fully. You will always feel like a pretender, a phony, and you will never fully know God’s love for you. But when God is first and foremost in your heart, soul, and mind, all your other relationships will fall into place.