At Rest in His Strong Arm – May our child-like faith dumbfound the most sceptical minds.
Isn’t this image such a helpful visual to remind us of our dependence upon the Arm of Christ, our Redeemer?
My wife gave me a quick summary view of the big push Valentine’s Day movie 50 Shades of Grey yesterday. I’ll admit, I was horrified. Yet, as she unpacked what seems to be behind the popularity of the movie particularly for women, I was actually calmed to realize where the fault for the popularity of this movie comes from for our world. Carrie, my wife, pointed out that women are craving leadership in every way but in particular around the area of sexuality and sex. It’s not a shock that women would eventually follow men’s slide to cheaper and cheaper sex, eventually wanting something like this movie, which has been nicknamed “porn for women”.
Men, this decline in our global morals is not due to the lack of our leadership but rather the presence of our selfish leadership, our narcissistic persuit of sex for self, career for self, money for self, and power for self. Now, after decades of moral decline, women are following our poor leadership and desiring a dirty “strong arm” rather than the strong arm of godly leaders. Imagine a world where vile strength is more and more celebrated and deeper and deeper shaddows are actually enjoyed, and you’re imagining the world our vile interests will develop and foster.
Will this decline lead to an end we truly do desire when in our right mind and purest hope? This is not an “over-sexualized” world. If we combat this evil by trying to un-sexualize things, we’re missing the point. Women desire to be nourished and cherished, taken care of and loved, looked out for and treated as daughters of the King, loved and enjoyed. If a woman is treated as the ultimate end of her man, his idol, she will disappoint and he will eventually move on to money or power or mis-placed affections. Whereas, when, for example, a husband and wife together prize the Living God, their sexuality comes alive better than the most unrestrained evil forms of sexuality.
Our God has given us the ultimate Head and Leader, the Redeemer Himself, Jesus the Christ, the very God-Man. Men who prize Him and look to Him and are caught up in His redeeming love for them become devoted followers and disciples. Their wives and daughters look to them as a flavor of their Savior and see their humility in their leadership. When we humble ourselves as men and keep our heads up with confidence in our Redeemer, our stride becomes more and more steady. Our sisters in Christ are taken with this, not to ultimately prize us at the end of the day, but to prize our mutual Redeemer. He takes hearts and minds and builds His tabernacle amongst humanity through His people (Exodus 36).
As we encounter our community with this counter-cultural body of friends, family, and ultimately Jesus’ united Bride, the world is won over to this better and eternal bridal chamber so-to-speak. These are hot terms and a bit steamy and maybe even nearing too intense for some, but have you really pondered the reality that the marriage bed is only a taste of the delights that await the follower of Jesus Christ?! Anyone who looks to sex as an end will eventually in some way abandon the marriage bed (maybe before even getting married in many cases) and plan to find fulfilment elsewhere. Friends, it’s not the ultimate end for our affections. Our deepest joys are yet to come, but we get glimpses as we walk in-step with our Redeemer’s strong arm.
Bride of Christ, may we lean into our Redeemer’s strong arm and experience glimpses of Heaven as we follow His lead and run hard through this life. He shows us the way everlasting and teaches us that as His engaged bride, we will encounter suffering (Psalm 45) and yet we will meet with those across the world in this life or the next who will forever know the deepest joys and satisfaction imaginable in the presence of the King of kings. Remember that Ephesians 5 and other passages help us realize that we’re merely in the engagement season of our marriage so-to-speak with this great Redeemer! Like marriage, engagement is short compared to the eternal joys ahead of marriage to the perfect Redeemer, and in that eternity with Him, we will no longer have any sin! No matter the circumstances of this life and the consequences for our mistakes, if we put our full weight into the Redeemer’s grip, we will be won over by this Groom, we will be led into eternal elation and celebration of His strong arm, the redemption He has worked.
May we be willing and content as God’s people. May we submit ourselves to His lead and love His presence as we endure the imperfections and temptations of this world and age. We will be together without interuption one day. No more will we have the evils of this world and the perversions of the love that lasts and is right. May our understanding of romantic love be redeemed. May marriages that exist now and those to be formed throughout the remainder of time experience redeeming grace. May tastes of Heaven be experienced by husbands and wives who submit to the reality that the deepest joys are found when life is done in submission to the Eternal Groom.
I’ll close with this question: Do you think God is anxious about the popularity of the movie 50 Shades of Grey across the globe or the book before that? His glory will be displayed and all shaddows/shades will be pulled back One Day. Think of it as That Day. There is an Eternal Day that believers look forward to when instead of a confused abuser holding the attention of neglected women, our Redeemer will eternally hold the attention of all men and women who have given in to His leadership and love, His redeeming love. Jesus’ death on the cross is sufficient for the forgiveness of all porn addictions, friends, whether men’s or women’s. It’s sufficient to cover all of our sin in all forms. We have but to trust Him with our deepest selves! I know this is a more explicit post than any I’ve written in some ways, but I have to speak to this. No one knows your loneliness like you do, friend, except the God Who created you and Who has created a perfect solution for your loneliness. Cast your whole self upon His Person and put your full weight in His grip. Find both nourishing and cherishing in His grip, and you’ll know better how to trust those weak but growing mortals God has put in your life to demonstrate His grace to you through day-in and day-out. Men, let me wrap up with saying that we aren’t ultimately able to bear the weight of those we lead and love. This weight-bearing must pass through us to our Redeemer’s grace, upon which we stand with all our weight and with the burdens of those we serve.
May God’s sufficiency to satisfy our thirst and hunger and longing be more evident to us today, friends. May our gaze upon our Redeemer in our mind’s eye (watch the movie Son of God for a little assistance), may this practice break down our pride and build up our joy and dependence.
In His friendship,