I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me! I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2 Cor. 11:1-3
Gracious Lord Jesus, as I pray my way through this Scripture this morning, two things stand out of extreme importance. First of all, we already belong to you as a washed, cherished and betrothed bride. This is our defining and delighting identity as your church—your called-out, beloved people.
Our organization and flow charts doesn’t define us. Our ecclesiastical heritage and theological nuancing don’t define us. Our worship style and pulpit don’t define us. Our mission statement and ministries don’t define us. Your unbreakable commitment to us and inexhaustible love for us are what make us who we are, and thrill us beyond all imagining, Lord Jesus.
We are the people upon whom you have set your heart, for whom you gave your life, and to whom you are returning as a great Bridegroom. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! There’s no other relationship that comes close to offering the peace, joy and hope as your relationship with us.
This underscores the second thing that stands out in this Scripture: the intensity of Satan’s hatred for the “first thing.” Satan hates your love for us and he hates our love for you. He’ll do anything possible to lead us astray from our sincere and pure devotion to you. He wants us to be anything other than a church filled with deep affection and devotion to you. Whether overtly through condemnation and persecution, or covertly through seduction and prosperity, his strategy is the same—to steal our hearts away from you.
Lord Jesus, he will not succeed, for you have crushed his head and you have won our hearts forever. But send your Spirit with fresh convicting and invigorating power. Wake us from our slumber. Restore to us the bridal affections we had for you at first. Rekindle the fire and passion we experienced when it first dawned upon us that you chose us and made us your bride.
We’re counted as pure virgins only because you have clothed our nakedness and sin with the wedding garments of your perfect righteousness. We are devoted to you, Jesus, only because of your love and devotion to us. Fill our hearts and churches with the sights and sounds of the great wedding feast to come. May we live expectantly, faithfully and obediently, to the praise of your glorious grace. So very Amen we pray, in your all consuming and beautiful name.