Monday, September 26, 2011

At the Heart of it All

The wedding was beautiful. The bride, dazzling in white. The groom, radiant as he stood waiting for his bride. As vows were spoken and rings were exchanged, I had no doubt the bride and groom were in love. In love with each other and in love with the Lord. The Lord was praised for bringing the couple together and He was an integral part of the wedding ceremony.

A wedding signifies the merging of two lives. Marriage was instituted by God himself, and is a beautiful picture of Christ’s relationship with the church. “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church,” (Ephesians 5:31-32; KJV). So this translates to ‘happily ever after,’ right? Only when the Lord, hard work, and determination are part of the equation.

Every marriage faces challenges. Sometimes I selfishly want things to be done my way – forgetting my better half. “Oneness in marriage does not mean losing your personality in the personality of the other. Instead, it means caring for your spouse as you care for yourself, learning to anticipate the other person’s needs, helping the other person become all he or she can be,” (Life Application Study Bible, p. 2078). Wow! Now that’s a tall order. But when God is at the heart of the relationship, we put ourselves in a position where He can bless us, and our marriage works.

Remember Ruth and Boaz’s love story? Ruth was a young woman from Moab who was profoundly influenced by her mother-in-law, Naomi. When Ruth’s husband died and Naomi determined to return to Bethlehem-Judah, Ruth willingly left her country, and embraced a new life, “…for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God,” (Ruth 1:16b). Once back in Judah, Ruth was determined to help Naomi. Gleaning in a nearby field gave her an opportunity to harvest food for the two of them.

Enter the knight in shining armor. Okay, he didn’t really wear armor, but check out his list of qualities and decide if he was a keeper: above reproach, self-controlled, wise, respectable, hospitable, gentle, a godly man, and a good manager of his own household – to name just a few. I’m pretty sure he’s the kind of guy every mother dreams of for her daughter!

In order to marry Ruth, Boaz had to fulfill some legal obligations. He was willing to do everything that was necessary. These two demonstrated a strong love for the Lord as individuals and continued to build on this foundation as a couple. And God blessed! “So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bare a son,” (Ruth 4:13). That son turned out to be none other than Obed, the grandfather of David! Ruth and Boaz were blessed for their obedience to the Lord by being included in the lineage of Christ.

When we center our marriage on the Lord, we can be sure we will be blessed as well. In fact, any relationship with Christ at its core is headed in the right direction! “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing,” (Zephaniah 3:17).

Evaluate your relationships. Is Christ at the center of each of them? If not, what step will you take today to make Him the emphasis?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for the relationships You’ve blessed me with. Help me to build strong relationships where You are honored and glorified. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


  1. Beautiful post, Maria. This has been on my heart lately too - oh and I love Ruth and Boaz. One of my favorite stories in the Bible:)

  2. Spot on, friend! Funny, I'm studying Ruth and Boaz for a women's banquet. I think Boaz was such a great catch from his mother--who taught him about women and how to love and respect them, after all she was Rahab!!! :)

    Marriage is a four letter word. WORK. Worthy every exertion. Excellent post, Maria!

  3. So VERY true. Marriage is SUCH hard work - but it's wonderful. I needed this reminder too.

  4. Susan - Thanks so much for stopping by! So much to take in from the story of Ruth and Boaz! I'm sure the Lord is blessing your study. Thanks for your words of encouragement, my friend! Have a beautiful week!

  5. Jessica - Neat to see that you and Susan are both enjoying this awesome book of the Bible! You're right about Boaz' Mom! Love the way the Lord uses us in spite of our past - the story of Rahab is one of my favorites! Always appreciate your comments and insights! Have a blessed week and I'm looking forward to your post tomorrow! :)

  6. Joanne - Thanks for stopping by! Marriage IS worth all the effort! God's blessings on you today!

  7. Great post, Maria. I'm so thankful for twenty two years with a hubby who models selflessness and faithfulness to God. Couldn't imagine life without him or Him!

  8. Hi Maria! love this post! i especially liked it when you reminded us that even though you are in a relationship, you should not lose yourself. I have been single for the past 5 years, but i thank God for that because I am learning so much more about myself, and i can safely say that i am content with that. It is my prayer that if God chooses to bless me with a spouse that we would be able to live according to God's word. (it seems difficult for me to find someone that shares that same value, but i rather wait than settle for crap!)

  9. Such an insightful post, Maria! Thanks so much for sharing this. God truly is the key to any relationship, even in a spiritually mismatched marriage like mine. My hubby and I have been married for 18 years, and the first 13 of those I wasn't a Christian. But God has a plan, and I'm hopeful that my husband will come to know the Lord someday. Miracles happen everyday!

    Blessings to you, Maria!

  10. Maria,
    What a wonderful post. Marriage on earth represents the relationship between Christ the Bridegroom and His church His bride. Submission, Obedience, Giving one's life for the other.
    That's really what makes marriages work well.
    Great thoughts!

  11. What a great post!
    Thanks for the reminder:)
    Have a wonderful day.