Relationship Test – Lite (20 min)

Have you ever experienced a period in your life with competing objectives that occupied far too much mental real estate? People in all walks of life and at all ages have demands for their time and attention. How we handle these demands is critical to a balanced and stable life. Our LORD said, “I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father…. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:28 and 33 New International Version).  

Listen to the original parent (long) version of this lite blog.

The original version contains “OneBranch’s” personal confession and testimony about overcoming recent distractions and identifying its root.

Here is my outline for Ephesians 5 on how to effectively be an imitator of God:

Ephesians 5 provides four fundamental Godly principles for walking out our earthy life: namely, walking in (1) love, (2) light, (3) wisdom, and (4) sacrifice; and, six popular culture actions to abstain. I will bring these principles to your attention as we traverse the outline. In addition to the practical applications, you will find that this blog goes deeper into what the LORD expects within His relationship with us. You will catch a glimpse into the strategic design of humanity. I hope that by sharing this with you, your heart will worship the most incredibly awesome intelligence and love that has ever existed, our LORD. Are you ready to begin? The first point is:

Awaken to Unpopular Holiness 

(Ephesians 5:1 to 14)

Verse 1 starts with the conjunctive adverb “therefore”. This joins the previous statement with verse 1’s concept. By reading the two verses together, the rationale for the directive to pattern the attributes of the Divine nature of God is given to us.  We are told to mirror Him because God forgave us through Jesus’ sacrifice for Christ’s sake.

  • And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.  Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. (Ephesians 4:32 to 5:1)

While children are individuals, there are markers of the parents that naturally are inherited while other attributes are learned or developed through interaction and nurture. Therefore we can understand that when we became children of God, there were changes that occur immediately because His Spirit came to dwell within us, and other changes develop over time.  

In the context of understanding why we should make every effort to imitate God, the Holy Spirit has made a distinction in Scripture by pointing out that God in Christ (both persons being Deity of the same essence) forgave us. The King James Version of this Scripture states it this way:

  • And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Be ye, therefore, followers of God, as dear children (Ephesians 4:32 to 5:1).

This informs me that God loved Jesus so much that He forgave us because of Jesus. Was this because Jesus wanted us to be His bride? Although our fallenness cost the Father the price of His Son, God wanted to reconcile His creation to Himself and provide the Son of His love (Colossians 1:13) with a bride or a people that He would become one with (Matthew 22:2 to 4, Revelation 19:7 to 8 and Revelation 21:9 refers to the concept of the bride). The process of purchasing the bride was agonizing for both the Father and the Son.  

Not only does Father God love Jesus, He also loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him could have everlasting life and escape the punishment we deserve (1st John 4:9, John 3:16 and 17). 

Just as the earlier chapters of Ephesians state, we are to join to the Godhead (to the beloved, Ephesians 1:6) and inherit the riches of the eternity that God originally designed for us as joint-heirs with Christ (Colossians 1:13). Spouses share life, wealth and goals in common. If we are the bride betrothed to the Godhead, we must become like Him and extensions of His glory, nature, and unity.

Walking in Love is the First of the Four Principles to Imitate God

In reviewing Ephesians 5:3 to 7, walking in love has nothing to do with condoning behaviour that opposes Scripture. We are told to refrain from these actions and to avoid friendship with those who walk contrary to the Word in order to be spared from the wrath of God (Ephesians 5:7). The behaviours include:  

  1. Covetousness:  This means to have a greedy desire to have more than what God has provided and can include but is not limited to fraudulency and extortion. These latter forms of covetousness are at the extreme level of greed. God calls greed idolatry. (Refer to Colossians 3:5, Ephesians 5:5);
  2. Filthiness: This means obscene, baseness, dishonourable, corrupted, shamefulness (Refer to Strong’s G150 and G151);
  3. Fornication: This is sexual activity outside of Biblical marriage (Refer to Matthew 19:4 to 9);
  4. Foolish Talking: This is silly talking and buffoonery (Refer to Strong’s G3473);  
  5. Coarse Jesting: In context, this includes scurrility, ribaldry, low jesting. The actual word means “well-turned” which can be a wittiness that gives something a different connotation. When you think about it, it can be making light of deception.  (Refer to Strong’s G2160 which is from a compound of G2095 and a derivative of the base of G5157);
  6. Moral or Physical Uncleanness: The word “uncleaness” identified as Strong’s G167 is identified in Thayers Greek Lexicon as follows: lustful, luxurious, immoderate living, impure motives (Matthew 23:27; Romans 1:24; Romans 6:19; 2nd Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Colossians 3:5; 1st Thessalonians 4:7; and 1st Thessalonians 2:3).

Verse 5 states that individuals who practice these behaviours have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Scripture goes on to say:

  • Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. (Ephesians 5:6)

When I researched the original Greek words, I was flabbergasted. Based on today’s society, many of these things are accepted, and in some cases, signify intelligence to the world. For example: how many times had I chuckled at witty, off-coloured innuendos thinking it was harmless. OY! It dawned on me that in the garden of Eden, there was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. My intelligence should stem from good, not evil. Jesus said it this way:

  • “Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. (Luke 11:35)

Or, how many times have I become discontent with what God had given me and wanting something else whether relationships, knowledge, gifts, circumstances and trials. Having goals to grow is Godly! But, it is evil when your desire takes you to a place where you are no longer content; even bordering on being unthankful.

In context, if we are walking in love, we are sacrificing the carnal or unregenerate ways and desires as a sacrifice to God; crucifying our flesh daily; yielding ourselves to the will of God. This is to increase in Christ-like character. Please allow me to prove this. In this passage containing instructions to walk in love, we are directed to abstain from the behaviours we just reviewed. Scripture states:

  • And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. (Ephesians 5:2).

Scriputre also states:

  • For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Romans 8:5 to 6)
  • Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things, the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience (Colossians 3:5 to 6)
  • But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (James 1:14 to 15)
  • And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:24)

When I consider the seriousness of God’s Word, I realize that being an imitator of God will be unpopular and set apart. If the world shades the lens through which we self-examine, it will be too easy to blindly sin.  

If we fit into popular culture, we likely have become carnal. If wrath comes to those who do these 6 things, can there really be such a thing as a carnal Christian?  

The LORD’s call to walk in love is greater than we understand. As we mature and truly seek to imitate God, we will begin to see the hidden sin in our lives and through testing, we will be refined. 

If we are walking in love, then we are loving God in the first place which in turn causes us to love others without compromising God’s will. We will show grace and compassion to others while adhering to Scripture. If we are walking in love, then we are hating the sin that mimics the enemy of our souls. We are to be in light in the world, but not behave like the culture. We are to be in the world, enjoy relationships, but long for our heavenly home and our Heavenly Husband.

Walking in the Light is the Second of the Four Principles to Imitate God

  • … “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” (Ephesians 5:14)

I have worked with some unbelievers whose conduct was better than some professing Christians who are at the entry-level of sanctification. That said, if a person has been awakened by the light of the LORD, they will walk in the light. They may be quick risers or they may be slothful but they will walk in the light because it is the Holy Spirit’s regenerating work.

The rate at which an awakened person arises to walk is dependent on their yielding to the Spirit and their understanding of the Word of God. If a person does not invest time in the presence of the LORD through Scripture reading and prayer, they will certainly be sluggish; perhaps stumbling as they walk with sleep still in their eyes.

Shunning darkness is key. Being set apart (different) is a must.

  • Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear. (1st Peter 1:13 to 17).

To walk in the light is to allow God to illuminate our hearts to who He is and what is right. It is to allow Him to penetrate our hearts and reveal areas we need to humbly correct. Our loving Father corrects us for our good (Proverbs 3:11 to 12).

He will cast His light on the dishonourable aspects of our minds so that we will be able to accept the instruction of the Holy Spirit. The LORD sees believers in their future completely glorified state so He patiently helps us develop as we cast off the dark grave clothes we wore when we were dead in sin.

There will be many individuals (even some who profess to be Christians) who are willing to give you permission to remain in ways that oppose God’s holiness. Our job is to use the light of God’s Word in self-examination. When we have that prompting to humbly correct or yield, we need to submit. Jesus Christ, very God, submitted to the will of His Father. We need to imitate Him. This is a fight at times because we either do not wish to deny ourselves, are afraid of the outcome of submission, or doubt we can overcome the area being identified by the LORD. But fighting this fight of faith ensures we lay hold of eternal life. Scripture states:

  • Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I urge you in the sight of God … that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen. (1st Timothy 6:12 to 16).
  • Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” (Hebrews 10:35 to 38).

To do this we need to search out what is acceptable to the LORD and set ourselves apart from any hint of darkness as indicated in Ephesians 5:10 to 13. Jesus said,

  • “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (John 3:19 to 21).

Family of God, let us be willing to humble ourselves to the LORD so that He can expose our sin to us. Let us confess our sins and let His love and healing Word cleanse us. The second point in our outline is to

Endure with Attentiveness to the Spirit to Understand God’s Will 

(Ephesians 5:15 to 21)

Since the Holy Spirit indwells the believer and knows how to apply His will and His Word at all times, it only makes sense to listen and obey.  

There are plenty of things in life that are good but aren’t necessarily God’s perfect will for the individual. For example, one can do the right thing at the wrong time and find themselves in a mess. Or, perhaps the way they go about something isn’t the best for all involved. There are “good” opportunities that could distract you from a God-given directive or calling. I suppose one could settle for good, but why would you if you could have what is “best”? If you settle, is that disobedience?

Here is another consideration. What if your actions or decisions are perfectly fine for your life but they unintentionally impact someone else negatively down the road? Only the LORD can see around the corners of life. If we live attentive to the Spirit’s leading, we can choose what is best in the long term and avoid much hardship.

Walking in Wisdom is the Third of the Four Principles to Imitate God

The forces of darkness, spiritual battles are all around us. Things may appear to be innocuous in the natural realm; however, in the spiritual domain, there may be an invisible, evil plot afoot. Scripture states:

  • See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:15 to 17);

As we move forward in time, we will be confronted with more evil.

  • But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come… But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2nd Timothy 3:1 and 13);
  • Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons (1st Timothy 4:1).

Jesus warned that deception would be great in the last days (Matthew 24:24).  He also said that no one could snatch His people out of His hands, nor His Father’s hands (John 10:28 to 30). With both of these truths, we understand that Holy Spirit will help guard our minds and hearts during the increasing deception as we remain close to God, leaning on His omniscience and guidance (Philippians 4:6 and 7).

Additionally, Scripture states that regardless of what we go through, those God foreknew and predestined will be justified and glorified because He is the Sovereign Judge who intercedes and intervenes to keep that which is His. (Romans 8:26 to 35).  It is written:

  • For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38 to 39)

While the LORD will ensure His children make it safely home, we are told to exercise wisdom and walk with caution to avoid unnecessary adversity and to fulfill the will of God. There are times when our LORD will allow testing (even using the adversary). It is only to refine us; not to crush us. We may be cast down temporarily, but we will remain unconquered because we are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. It is written:

  • For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2nd Corinthians 4:17 to 18)

Ephesians 5:15 to 18 says walk cautiously and wisely by redeeming these evil days. Scripture says:

  • Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. (Daniel 12:3)
  • The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise. (Proverbs 11:30)
  • Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. (Colossians 4:5)

Although walking in wisdom through the Holy Spirit helps us avoid the traps of the enemy, it also helps us fulfill God’s plan of redemption. If we are alert and wise, we will be investing our time and effort into what Jesus told us to do. We will not be distracted by circumstances and not lose sight of His strategic objectives. Jesus said:

  • …”Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)
  • “But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. … “And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. … “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. (Portions of Scripture starting at Mark 13:7)

With the darkness around us growing, it becomes easy to desire an escape to ease the sorrow we experience when we see the wicked night settling in. We need to ensure we are not bolstering our emotions with substances, entertainment, technology or other temporary means of abandoning life’s concerns to licentiousness. Jesus said:

  • I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. (John 9:4).

If we truly want to do God’s will, we will walk in the Spirit being obedient in our daily living and actively looking to snatch souls from the fire.

If we are to be imitators of God, we are to: (1) lay down our comforts to bring souls to heaven; (2) praise God wholeheartedly; (3) encourage each other to press forward; and (4) obey the leading of the Holy Spirit.  

You see, God cares about relationships. Each member of the Holy Trinity is in perfect unity with each other in everlasting love and goodness; and, He plans to extend His character throughout the universe. As such, He wants to redeem the lost and bring them into fellowship with Him.

Also, He cares about His relationship with His children and wants His children to be grateful for all that He allows in our lives (even the trials we may not understand knowing He has permitted it). He cares about how His children treat each other. We are to respect and yield to each other just as the Son of God submitted to God the Father.  Ephesians 5:19 to 21 states that we ought to be:

  • speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lordgiving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God. 

There is something more to be gleaned in this chapter. Part of understanding how to imitate God is contained within comprehending the marriage relationship the way God defined it. What does it mean to be the bride of Christ? Let us move into our third point to:

See Beyond the Temporal to Grasp the Deep Truth of the Lesson 

(Ephesians 5:22 to 33)

The remaining verses of Ephesians 5 have been a matter of controversy (probably for centuries) even though the instructions for both husband and wife are very clear. I believe sin has caused a division over something incredibly sacred. The enemy has continued to whisper rebellion into the ears of God’s children (as he did back in the garden). He uses doubt, fear and slander as key tactics to accuse God and believers hoping to malign God’s image in humanity.

Christ created marriage in the garden of Eden to demonstrate Christ’s relationship with us as the church and individually. What an amazing mystery that we will not fully understand until the marriage supper of the Lamb.  

  • “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. (Revelation 19:7 to 8).

Authority, submission, sacrifice, leadership, service, humility, and love are all properties or demonstrations of the Godhead; and, each member of the Godhead is valued as One.

With this concept in mind, let us go to the Scripture in Ephesians that provides so much insight.

  • For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:30 to 32).

We have heard Christians are the body of Christ and are destined to be the bride of Christ.  Scripture provides the reason for marriage which was stated when humanity’s history began.

  • ...God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion … over all the earth …” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:26 to 27).

The Holy Trinity discussed the creation of humanity and agreed to create them in their very image. Being omniscient and sovereign, God knew that the first man would sin. They planned that Christ would incarnate and then sacrifice Himself to redeem those they foresaw would be willing to accept that they need salvation and are willing to submit to His Lordship.

  • Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned. To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come. (Romans 5:12 to 14 New International Version).

As we read the details of how He constructed His creation, we see that God made and female comparable but with differences intentionally.  

  • And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” … And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:18 to 25).

Again: Naked and Unashamed.

They only knew goodness; they had pure unhindered love.

Sin caused shame resulting in fear of the true intimacy that was lost, and is still longed for. This is a desire to be completely known and accepted. This is what our Heavenly Husband gives us.

Let us now take a look at some terms to understand what the joining of a man to the wife was intended to be. Please notice I used the word “wife” intentionally:

  • The word “man”  (identified by Strong’s H120) in the original Hebrew text is ‘āḏām (which comes from the root ‘āḏam Strong’s H119). These two words sound almost the same but when written out, one can see the variation. “Man” in Genesis 2 was both the created individual (Adam) and the species (mankind). Its root word means to show blood in the face, to be made red.
  • The word “woman”  (identified by Strong’s H802) in the original Hebrew text is ‘iššâ.  The King James Version translates  ‘iššâ as wife 425 times; as a woman 324 times; as one 10 times; and, as married 5 times. Please note that this is different than the word female.  
  • The word “female” in Genesis 1:27 is nᵉqêbâh and is used to delineate between the sexual forms of mankind. 
  • In Genesis 2:18, the word “helper” is ēzer (Strong’s H5828) which is used 2 times as a helpmeet and the other 19 times as aid. The word meet means “appropriate” or “fitting”.

The model of marriage was the joining into an intimate relationship where hearts, minds and bodies could be merged into the purest delightful love most nakedly; not hiding or not concealing anything.  This relationship was the coming together of distinctly separate beings made from the same substance for the expressed intent of sharing all things in common under one authorityworking together to expand their dominionsubduing the wild to make it beautiful and orderly.

There are echoes of the Trinity revealed in God’s design. Humanity was to be fruitful and multiply thereby extending the image of God on earth. They were to also have fellowship with the Trinity.

Praise God! God has told us the final outcome in His Word:

  • … “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. (Revelation 21:3).

Since God is the One who has designed the family, instituted marriage and permitted human government, we are to be obedient to what He has established. He is the Sovereign Head over every authority.  It is written:

  • Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. (Romans 13:1)

Also, remember that God has used evil authority to complete His purposes since God can not do evil but He can work it together to accomplish the greater good. When the authority whether (regenerated or not) has failed to align themselves under God’s law, then we are to obey God.   

Following orders or obeying authority is NEVER a licence to sin.

It is written:

  • But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. (Acts 4:19)
  • But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)

This means two things:  We do not obey any authority that:

  • (1) forbids you to obey God; and,
  • (2) commands you to disobey God.  

If you knowingly disobey God’s command, you intentionally sin like Adam. If you do not rightfully discern God’s will resulting in obedience to an authority that disagrees with God, you are deceived like Eve. Both are wrong and result in a penalty; one held a more severe consequence.

You see while Eve bore the consequences of deception with intermittent pain, God held Adam accountable for disobeying God with the penalty of continuous struggle for all of creation and death.

  • Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. (Genesis 3:17)

When our LORD was challenged by teachers of the law about following man-made rules, Jesus responded:

  • “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ “For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men He said to them, All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. (Mark 7:6 to 9)

Human males and females are created equal in the image of God and are sinners needing the Saviour. Neither are valued more than the other as the Godhead values each member equally.

  • Husbands are to cherish, provide and protect their wives (saved or unsaved) with everything they have, even die for them.  They are to be the authority for their wife; not over females, just their own wives. They are not to judge their wives or apply a penalty such as withholding love, security or applying force. Judgement is the LORD’s responsibility.
  • Wives are to obey their husbands (saved or unsaved) provided the obedience does not contradict God’s Word. They are to respect, encourage, and help achieve. They are not to overstep the husband’s authority, harm his ego, or withhold physical expression from them. The LORD is the wife’s help and will not answer the husband’s prayers if he is not considerate of her (1st Peter 3:7)

This relationship requires a great love for the LORD and self-control enabled by the Holy Spirit.

  • Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. (Revelation 14:12)

Walking in Sacrifice or Humility is the Forth Principle to Imitate God

From the prophetic and mysterious eternal purposes of God, we see that marriage is to teach the church how to be joined to our God.

  • Unlike Adam who blamed God and Eve for sin, the church’s Husband, Jesus the Christ, cleanses us from unrighteousness (Ephesians 5:25 to 27, Jude 1:24 to 25, Titus 2:14).  
  • Unlike Eve, Jesus did not listen to the voice of the tempter, He rebuked Satan with Scripture (Luke 4:1 to 13).

Our beautiful Saviour laid down His life willingly for the entire world knowing that only a few would accept His offer of engagement. He paid the price, went away to prepare a place for us to be with Him, and when His Father says it is the right time, Jesus will retrieve His bride.  

Jesus said:  

  • In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John 14:2 to 3)

You see, Scripture explains that we must bear the image of Christ. We must imitate Him which we can only do by yielding to the Holy Spirit as He reveals His Word and guides us in our daily activities.

  • The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1st Corinthians 15:46 to 52).

We have gained such knowledge and demonstrate God-given abilities to imagine, problem-solve, etcetera. But overall, we have failed to learn the lesson of sacrifice. For a large part, in the most significant way, many have failed to accept the only sacrifice that matters eternally. And, we certainly do not enjoy laying our wills on the altar. Jesus prayed “not my will but Thine be done” before He sacrificed His life for His bride (Luke 22:42).

The bride comes under the authority of Christ’s decision, timing, provision, protection, and guidance while respecting Him with thanksgiving.

This means:

  • having to trust the LORD to work in the life of others
  • giving thanks to God for who He is and encouraging others during a pressing time;
  • seeing life through the lens of relationship with the Redeemer which means eternal priorities above earthly desires.

Are you willing to be the bride of Christ? It’s work and commitment, but the best things usually are!

For those who have not received God’s gift of Jesus Christ for salvation, if you feel a nudge to believe, you should evaluate the Scripture for yourself. Please visit DESIRINGFRUITFULNESS.CA/CHOICES. There you can find 4 SIMPLE STEPS or concepts to help you ask the LORD to bring you into right standing with Him. The steps are designed to help you know why a prayer of repentance is necessary. There are no “specific words” to pray, but there is a process to coming to faith.

All Scripture used in this blog is from the New King James Version unless otherwise specified.

Published by OneBranch

OneBranch believes the Word of God is effective for fashioning a heart committed to loving God and loving others. As such, internet content is published with the intention of motivating others to read Scripture for themselves. The content is created from personal devotional/study time in the Word of God and can be viewed as an online journal in the life of one of the branches in the LORD's fruitful vineyard. Readers/listeners are encouraged to validate all Scripture and concepts using the Holy Bible and prayer.