First comes love
He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments. Revelation 3:5 (NKJV)
There are no shortcuts to character. Character is hammered out on the anvil of a disciplined resistance to substitute immediate gratification for the promise of a future reward. Maturing adults learn to live this way.
Six years ago last month, my son Cole married his high school sweetheart in a beautiful stained glass church. They began dating when they were 15. During that time they signed a “True Love Waits” covenant to remain chaste until marriage.
They broke up and then re-established a relationship, and eventually a date was set for the wedding.
With help from my brothers-in-law and friends, I prepared the rehearsal dinner for everyone and after dinner we all sat around elegantly appointed tables for the traditional toasts and speeches. I don’t remember what Cole, my son, said. But I remember what I said and what Ashley said.
I said how proud I was to be able to stand before family and friends and say that when my son gives his word about sexual purity, it is as good as the gold that will be on his finger tomorrow.
But then it was Ashley’s turn to speak and she stood up with her red hair cascading down her shoulders, skin alabaster white and a little flushed from the thought of what she was about to share in front of 35 people.
She looked at her Daddy and put her left hand on the table to steady herself, smiled, blushed some more and said:
“I have loved Cole for a very long time. I will be honored to be called his wife. It has been a difficult road to get here, but it was worth it, I don’t regret a thing.”
I wonder if you have ever done anything you regret. Imagine never doing that again. Imagine going year after year and never saying the wrong thing. Think of going decade after decade never doing anything that would make you want to hide.
Imagine millennia after millennia where there would be no self-serving actions, no deceit, no more guilt, no more shame, no more remorse, no more staring at the ceiling at 2 in the morning thinking, “Oh God, I wish I had that to do over again!”
Imagine people in Heaven saying of you as you walk by; their life was an unending stream of beauty and moral excellence. Would you want that?
Then determine that you will fall so in love with Jesus that perhaps you quarrel with Him, maybe you will pout for a time, but you will be true to him so that one day you will stand before those gathered at His marriage banquet and say, “I have loved Jesus for a very long time.”
It can be done.
Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. Revelation 19:7 (NKJV)