Lately, I have been facing the question: what does it mean, as a man, to commit to a woman? What does it mean for a woman, to commit to a man?
Maybe dating and then marriage and the vows are about something more beautiful and even greater than the wedding and future dreams?
God has been showing me so clearly that the commitment I make is about something so much more awesome and life-giving than whatever I could ever dream up.
First, even though I knew it, I needed to be reminded: Living life is completely, totally, all about reflecting Jesus’ love and characteristics because without Him we have nothing. One day we are going to stand before God, completely perfect because of what Jesus did. We live everyday towards that day.
Whether single or in a relationship, that is the purpose of life.
Therefore, I’m learning, dating and marriage is all about living for Jesus together. It’s about living life, encouraging each other into greater holiness as we prepare for eternity.
Getting this basic focus of life first, prepares us guys to lead and have a holy, eternity focused, perspective of our relationship.
With this purpose as center, all I can do is become focused completely on bringing honor to Jesus. I can only live committed to act towards and love my wife as Christ would – not as my self-focused, small minded, sinful nature is prone to do.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” – John 15:12
That has challenged me with a powerful question for me as a guy: how would Jesus think about and act towards my girlfriend? How would Jesus treat my wife?
It’s crucial for guys. Probably for women too: how would Jesus treat your boyfriend or your husband?
Wow. I’d never asked myself that question with that starkness. It’s probably one of the most important I could ever ask.
The answer is in front of my face. In how Jesus treated us.
Jesus Committed to My Holiness
Jesus committed to us absolutely completely. He committed to our purity and holiness and best interest.
He died so that you and I can be made pure and holy and beautiful.
Jesus is the ultimate lover who became like us and lived among us and pursued us. For that he was nailed to a tree, spit on, rejected, whipped, and stabbed.
All because he loved us so much.
And my sin and rejection was represented in that mocking crowd, in His abuse, in the death that He died in my place. Jesus went in our place.
It is because He died in our place and then came alive, that we live.
Jesus went through all of that so that I might be completely cleansed from my sin. To give me a new life of freedom and holiness. To protect me from death.
And Jesus just goes about offering it to everyone, just giving it away. A free gift for anyone.
Jesus committed to us, to our purity and holiness, and did what He said He would do.
How can I not but give Him all of my love and all of my life?
Our Commitment In Relationships
In Ephesians 5:21-33 we get this amazing vision of the marriage relationship in light of what Jesus did.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless”
As men, we are given the incredible responsibility living out Jesus: of committing to the purity and holiness of our wives.
And this commitment is not just to physical and spiritual holiness in life, but to a vision of eternity. A commitment to seeing her stand before God – finally perfected and holy.
Even as single or dating men, we are to have a commitment to giving women and or our girlfriend holiness and purity – to die to ourselves so that they might grow in Christ and encourage them towards eternity.
Women too have this amazing role of committing to the purity and holiness of their boyfriend or husband. To run and encourage him towards that awesome day when he will stand before God.
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” v. 21-24
Amazing. Both men and women are called to submit ourselves to the other in love.
Leading in Commitment
For guys, it seems that we are given the responsibility of leadership in submitting – that is, we are to lead in giving up ourselves, lead in purity, lead in holiness.
This gives our girlfriends or wives the opportunity to join us and reciprocate – committing to our holiness and purity and growth.
How would Jesus think about and act with my girlfriend? How would He treat my wife?
How Christ would, I’m called to do.
Committed Despite Temptation
Whether it is in thoughts or actions, we all seem to face the temptations and desire to live selfishly – to not honor in holiness and love as Jesus does.
I know I have faced these and have failed to stand firm. I just want to transparent, I’m no better than anyone in this.
The amazing thing is, Jesus knows all about temptation. How does Jesus know about temptation?
He faced it and didn’t give in. In Matthew 4:1-11 Satan tempted Him, but Jesus stood firm.
Jesus could have left the cross in the midst of the world’s sin and abuse upon himself.
But Jesus stayed. He endured. He overcame it all.
Hebrews 12:1-3 has this incredible statement:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Our road map for committing to the holiness of the person we are running with is right there. Jesus committed to the holiness of the bride, His Church. He committed to Her.
He committed to you and me.
He could have quit on us and given up. But Jesus overcame temptation while everyone mocked him.
As we are called – men to commit ourselves to the holiness and purity of our wives and girlfriends – women to husbands and boyfriends – the only way I myself can ever hope to stand firm is by committing myself fully to Jesus.
To commit myself to Him, so that one day, I will stand before Him. So that the girl I seek to marry or my wife – she sees Jesus and gives herself fully to Him so that she too will stand before Him, washed in His forgiveness and love.
It’s becoming so clear that it is only out of complete surrender to Christ where we find the strength and encouragement we need to commit ourselves to full holiness and purity and growth in our relationships.