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 with flashing neon brilliance. First of all, we already belong to you as a washed, cherished and betrothed bride. This is our defining identity, raison d’être, joy, passion and delight, as your church—your called-out, beloved people. Your relationship with us and your love for us are the most important things about us.
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. There’s no other relationship that comes close to offering the peace and hope as your relationship with us—no other.
This underscores the second thing that stands out in this Scripture: the intensity of Satan’s hatred for the “first thing”—your great love for us, Bridegroom to bride. He’ll do anything possible to lead us astray from our sincere and pure devotion to you.
Satan hates your love for us. Satan hates our love for you. He’ll let us 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 to be your bride.
We are counted as pure virgins only because you have covered our nakedness and sin with your blood and 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. Compel us with your love and propel us into your story. So very Amen we pray, in your most loving name.