Saturday, December 6, 2008

Love Dare - Day 40: Love Is A Covenant

Let me start off by saying that it has been a pleasure to partake in this dare with you. And, thank you, for coming along on this ride with me!

Well, this is it. Day 40. The last day - at least the last OFFICIAL day. But the REAL dare is to keep going ...

"Where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people will be my people, and your God, my God." - Ruth 1:16

We may have come to the last chapter of the book, but that does not mean the dare has to end. In fact, it is intended to never end - until death parts you from your spouse. I imagine that you started this dare because you love your spouse. Or, at least, you did at one time. I HOPE that you love them even more, now that you have discovered where true love comes from!

Marriage is meant to be a covenant. Now, there is a difference between a contract and a covenant, and to understand the kind of commitment that comes with a covenant, we have to understand the difference.

A contract is a written agreement, and usually based on a lack of trust between the parties involved. See, a contract is filled with legalese detailing what is to happen and when and what the consequences are to be if said contract is not fulfilled. In many cases the contract is actually written because it is expected that it will not be completed.

A covenant is more often a verbal agreement. It is based on the promises of those involved - the said parties putting their honor on the line. And a covenant is intended to NOT be broken. A covenant spells out what will be done. Period. It is a sacred promise - a vow.

Marriage is intended to be a covenant. It was created as a promise between to parties to love and honor each other no matter what. Your marriage vows were not "far as long as you do not aggravate me", "until disappointment do us part" or "with this ring, I'll see how it goes". No, your vows were for forever.

So, the question is, did you make a contract or a covenant?

In the Bible, God makes many covenants - with Noah, Moses, Abraham and, in the ultimate covenant of all, any who may believe. You see the cross is that covenant, fulfilled in the empty tomb. It is a covenant that is offered to anyone who will take Him at His word. And His word is eternal, everlasting, unbroken and forever. God says nothing that He does not mean. He makes no promise that He does not deliver on. If He says He will, He does. No matter what.

And, as we have learned, our marriages are meant to be based on the love that God has shown us. We love because He first loved us. We love completely the way that Christ loves His church. Everything that we do in love was taught to us by the love of God. And, because of that, our love - especially in our marriages - is meant to be eternal. As is our word.

If we make a promise, our word is our vow. No matter what. Even if it is not returned the way that we expect or desire... Even if it is not returned at all. We still love, because we promised we would. We still try because our word is true. We still stay, because it is where we belong. Where we promised we would be.

Now, I realize that it can get hard. I also realize that there are circumstances laid out in the Bible in which divorce is allowed. But, I also realize - more than ever, after this dare - that love is a choice that we make. A choice that is more important than emotions that waver and circumstances that change. Because loves is eternal.

That being said, if you are in a situation that is putting you, your spouse or your children in danger of any kind, you must do what needs to be done to protect yourself and your children. And, if that is the case I urge you to seek counsel from a strong Christian friend, a pastor or a Bible believing counselor. Do not go this route alone. Seek God's will in your life. He does not want you in danger, but He does not want you to just give up either. Lift your spouse up in prayer. Take every effort given and don't give up without a fight. But do not place yourself or your family in danger.

As for the rest of us, marriage is the strongest commitment that we will ever make. And, as we have learned in the last 40 days, we cannot fulfill this covenant of our own will. We need the strength of God to uphold our promise. Our word is our vow, and our vows are sacred. We need the help of God to help us keep the promise of a lifetime. We NEED Him in our marriages!

So, let Him in!

Write out a renewal of your vows and place them in your home. Perhaps, if appropriate, you could make arrangements to formally renew your wedding vows before a minister and with family present. Make it a living testament to the value of marriage in God's eyes and the high honor of being one with your mate.
Marriage is called to be an earthly example of God's Heavenly covenant with His church. It is intended to reveal God's glory and unconditional love to the world by Holy example. Let His love be a model for the love that you extend to the one you have chosen.

Now is the time to renew your covenant to the one that God has placed in your care. And love is too Holy a treasure to be taken lightly. Make your vow a covenant to the one that you have chosen, as well as to the One who has chosen you. And let love be forever!

I am praying for you. God Bless you and your chosen love!

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