Can you imagine a man or woman planning to marry someone when the marriage only benefits the other person? The spouse-to-be brings absolutely nothing to the table — no personal attractiveness, moral character, agreeable personality, or thoughtfulness; no talents, financial assets, social status, or education. Nothing. The relationship is entirely one-sided. We would probably ask, “Why would anyone do that?”
I had a conversation with the Lord recently where He explained that this is exactly what He has done for His bride and for each of us individually. Everything we have, He has given to us.
Purity? We had none of that until He forgave us. He provides the spotless wedding gown and adorns His bride with His jewels. He has supernaturally restored to us a pristine virgin status we did not possess. Our radiant beauty comes from the glory He has placed within us by giving us His Spirit and His new nature.
Did He fall in love with us because we pursued Him? No, He says, “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you” (John 15:16), and, “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Was it our impressive talents which attracted Him? Sorry, those are gifts from Him. “What do you have that you did not receive [as a gift]? Now, if you received it , why do you glory as if you had not received it [as a gift]“ (1 Corinthians 4:7).
Maybe it was our vast knowledge or intelligence. Seriously? Compared to the One Who knows everything? Or, maybe our wealth. “Yes! He must have wanted my $$$ for His kingdom!” Nope. The silver and the gold are already His, as well as the cattle on a thousand hills (Haggai 2:8 and Psalm 50:10). Maybe it was because He saw us as influential, charismatic people who could make Him look good. Ick. Sorry again.
… Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and … the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, and base things …, and things which are despised, … and things which are not, to bring to nothing the things which are: so that no flesh is able to glory in His presence. — 1 Corinthians 1:26-29
Sometimes we forget what we were before we yielded to Jesus. We deceive ourselves into secretly thinking God picked us because of some good He saw in us. We also tend to forget that everything we now have is still only ours because it flows from Him, day by day, moment by moment. We’re not hot stuff now any more than we ever were. It’s all from Him.
In Ezekiel 16:1-14, God paints a picture of the one-sided relationship He had with Israel. He likened them to an illegitimate, abandoned newborn, whom He carefully watched over, waited for, and eventually made His bride. He gave her the only clothes she had — fancy ones, with jewels and a crown. He provided the finest food and every luxury for her. That same story applies to us.
The beauty of all of this is, the Lord does not remind us of our lack in order to shame us. Although He points out that we are nothing without Him, we have His approval. We are “accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). He wants us to feel glad about our total dependency, because He is glad. It is His purest pleasure to give us everything, to be our everything. Giving us all that we are and all that we have brings Him exhilarating joy. It is a mystery beyond anything we can fathom, and brings us into a more profound love for Him as we contemplate it.
Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God,
by Lee Ann Rubsam
The Names of God,
by Lee Ann Rubsam