“Oh yes, I come to see her often. We have been going for years,” the young man said. “That is wonderful,” I replied “when are you getting married?” “We’re not!” He said without blinking, “I don’t think partnership like that is necessary in this day and age!”
I was immediately filled with sadness for the girl. Here she has shared her heart with him, shared her innermost thoughts, dreams, passions. She was open about everything close to her heart. In every way she is expecting to be his bride…eventually, but he has no intention of making that commitment. He is essentially just dating her while keeping his options open: until someone better catches his eye, or a new girl fascinates his mind, or another girl challenges him in a new way. He is not willing to be tied to any one person in case he misses opportunities. It seems to be the culture of today: we are a generation that likes to keep our options open, never really committing to anything.
But, my heart is equally saddened because the same attitude is prevalent in the church today. We like the benefits of dating the Bride of Christ, but we resist commitment.
We enjoy the music, the message, the clean conscience we may have when we return home. We love to hear about what motivates her heart, i.e. pleasing the Bridegroom Jesus, we have read intimate correspondence between the Groom and His Bride and know of His love for her, how He protects her and sustains her until He comes for her.
But when it comes to committing to being a part of her future, we “don’t think partnership like that is necessary in this day and age!”
We date the Bride of Christ, when we never commit to any one church. We want to be free to attend any church we like, when we feel like it and don’t want to commit to any one church because there are aspects of the church that don’t appeal to us. We recognize that church has perks, but we don’t want to stay and set down roots, “settle down”.
We prefer not to commit, but if you have to examine the core of our reluctance there is an aspect of: my personal comfort; not losing out on opportunities of pleasure; inconvenience in light of other priorities; pre-conceived ideas about what church should be like; un-forgiveness due to past experiences in church or with believers; past offense taken when something was said, done or asked.
We like to date her, but in truth, we use her for the benefits we receive.
“For a time will come, when men and women will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. The will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” 2 Tim 4:3-4
Jesus himself warned in Matt 24:10 “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase in wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
If we don’t want to commit to church because we may miss out on opportunities, the truth is that you already are.
The church is where God works in the heart of believers who have chosen to commit their lives to His Bride; it is His preferred tool for God promotion. God trains and develops us to maturity in the community of believers; it is the place where we can do what we do best, to bring glory to God.
Perhaps it is time to commit to the Bride.
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