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Seeds of the Kingdom

Marriage Vows (3)

by Malcolm Wood

A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife and the two are united as one. This is a great mystery, but is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.
Ephesians 5: 31-32, NLT

I looked before at the promises made by the bride and groom to each other during the marriage ceremony. Scripture makes it clear that the special relationship between a husband and wife illustrates the relationship between Christ and the Church, His bride. So our relationship with the Lord should contain the same vows as the marriage ceremony. So far I’ve said that these include surrendering, sharing, submitting and serving.

I want to add three further vows to this list. The couple are each asked – ‘Will you love him or her?’ I believe love is the essential ingredient for a good marriage! Without love, marriage isn’t a true marriage. As the song goes ‘Love and marriage, love and marriage, Go together like a horse and carriage. This I tell you brother, You can't have one without the other’. True love needs to be expressed with selflessness. Remember Mary brought expensive ointment to anoint the feet of Jesus and express her love for Him (John 12: 1-3).

The bride and groom are then asked if they are prepared to keep in this marriage relationship whatever the circumstances – whether in sickness or in health. If we’re honest, faith so often fluctuates with the highs and lows of our circumstances, doesn’t it? Our Bridegroom is looking for those who will keep with Him whatever happens. Job is a good example of this ‘steadfastness’ when he declares ‘Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him’ Job 13:15.

Finally the bridal pair are asked whether they are prepared to ‘Forsake all others and keep themselves only for each other’. The apostle Paul had learnt this lesson. He said ‘I have discarded everything else, counting it as garbage so that I may have Christ and become one with Him’ (Philippians 3:8-9). We are His bride. As we prepare ourselves for the wedding feast of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7) let’s be willing to love Him selflessly, hold on to Him steadfastly and live lives which are consecrated to Him, (with the help of the Holy Spirit).

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, You’re looking forward to the day when You’ll come for Your bride. Help us Lord to be ready and to also be longing for that day, Amen.

Malcolm Wood and his wife Anna became part of the Ellel family as House Managers at Ellel Grange in 1990. Since then they have been involved with many aspects of the developing Ministry. From 2001 until 2015 they were Directors of Ellel Scotland where they hosted several International Schools and Operation Blairmore and helped pioneer the exciting Creative Inspiration Weeks. They have three sons.

 

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