Nine days from now my eyes will be facing the eyes of my bride. We will hold hands in a pasture and pour words out from our hearts, before family and friends. We are now in the single digits; has me thinking a lot. I’m praying over this day and all days following, that Christ-love will be foremost between Kilby and me. That the love of Jesus would knit us together and hold us fast, that the Gospel would be clearly on display for the world around us to see and experience through our union. My prayer is that we would be real and known, honest and compassionate, sacrificial and servant-hearted, attentive listeners and bold-gentle communicators, rooted in the Word, clearly following the One who has saved us–Christ Jesus our Lord–and walking joyfully in step with the Spirit of God, obedience flowing from love.
I will share a few reflections from Ephesians as we prepare for our wedding day, and the reality of life together, ever after.
Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!–assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
-in the futility of their minds-
This refers to vain thinking, leading to vain living and fruitlessness. My mind goes to Ecclesiastes and 2 Peter 1. My prayer is that Kilby and me would walk purposefully through all of our days, not swaying from God’s instruction and guidance to the left or to the right. We understand that our purpose and our joy is found in the Lord, in loving and serving and growing in Him. I pray we would see much good fruit as we grow in Christ together, not returning to weak and worthless things which we have both been brought out from, nor to the futile thinking which leads to this worthless living which is all around us. We know our calling, and we must walk by faith.
-alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them-
I pray Kilby and me would be effective and productive in the knowledge of Jesus. I pray spiritual wisdom and understanding would be grown in us and fill us to overflowing, as we draw nearer every day to our Father-King; our all-powerful, listening, sacrificial, ever-wise Savior. We ask for wisdom, with hearts widened to Christ. Our affections are for Him. We long to walk intimately together with Him. Not in darkness, not in ignorance, not in worldliness, not in pride or hardness of heart. Our hope is Christ, and we abide in Him.
-They have become callous and have given themselves up-
Hardened hearts create hardened people; hearts denying the love of God and the will of God, turning elsewhere seeking to be satisfied apart from the only Source. They are looking for fulfillment in their flesh, in their sin, in the lackluster longings which have never delivered. Pseudo-joys never supply. I was searching out the same, calloused, but my gracious King did not relent. Kilby was calloused, but the loving Savior continued to call to her. He brought each of us near to Himself, and continues to do so. The blood of Jesus has covered us, softening our hearts and altering our affections.
-put off your old self-
As a couple that has learned and knows Christ, soon to be together, I pray we never grow rigid. I pray we fight against the flesh, dying to ourselves daily, eyes joyfully fixed on Christ as we take up our cross. I pray we always be growing in the Way. I pray Kilby and me would be given fully and only to the One called worthy, as we give ourselves one to another. I pray we refuse our former ways and that deceitful desires would be put to death, whatever the cost. The old is gone–and may it always be.
-put on the new self-
I pray holiness would be our delight. I pray for continual molding and transformation to take place in our hearts, minds, and living; that together we would be growing in Christ always, effective ambassadors bringing His love to a world filled with chaos and brokenness. Behold, the new has come–and we are going to walk in this newness, this abundance of life, this joy and peace and hope and reconciliation and purpose and calling.
-created after the likeness of God-
We believe wholeheartedly: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen. 1:27) We believe man’s sin and rebellion has wrenched mankind from perfect unity with the Father. Adam’s sin, and my own, brought this chasm between God and me. But Christ in His perfect life, death and resurrection, has made a way for many. While we were sinners, enemies, Christ died for us. Jesus has restored me to fellowship, by His own blood. He has brought Kilby into the family of God, through his sacrificial death. He has made us coheirs with Himself. The only One who needed no reconciliation, died to reconcile us to Himself–unified. And as His people–even in the midst of so much evil, impurity, and ungodliness around us–we, through Christ, will walk in true righteousness and holiness. He has afforded this to us, lavished this on us by His grace–the same grace which led to our salvation. He made a way where there was none. And Kilby and me are going to walk this path together. We will walk in the Light with all those who have been redeemed, knowing that Christ has brought us close to God. We have been made new. He is faithful and will hold us fast, in Him and together as His own.
These have been and are my ongoing thoughts, prayers, and meditations. My words to Kilby have been these: “I desire that I would be yours, you would be mine, and us, His.” They sound all the clearer in my mind and on my lips as the day approaches.
Thank you Jesus.