Marriage not Merger
As we approach the upcoming move, something that has been impressed on my heart in a major way is: language matters.
The reason language matters so much is because communication matters. We serve a God who has thankfully been a communicative God. He has not been silent. He has spoken to us through His Word, through His Son, through His Spirit, through the preaching of the Cross...
So, God has set the pattern in being THE faithful communicator and as His church, it is important to follow His example, and since we can not do it perfectly, we should seek to over communicate and pray that humility would be evident in every step along the way.
Yesterday, we discussed the differences between "Becoming a family" and "Acquiring a building".
Today, we want to discuss "Marriage not Merger".
The term "merger" is such a loaded term. Depending on your experiences or lack of experiences with the term, it is easy to import past experience and even have an emotional response to the term. I have witnessed various mergers over the years, and what I have come to realize is that it is a very broad term and often looks quite different, almost varrying in a case by case basis.
Let me give you some thoughts as to why I prefer the term "marriage"
1. Marriage is a term that is rich with biblical imagery. Marriage is a descriptive image that the Lord uses from Genesis to Revelation, so when we use the term, we are borrowing from descriptive language the the Holy Spirit Himself borrows from throughout God's Word in various descriptive ways.
2. Marriage suggests commitment- there are no "Pre-nups" in the bible. There was never supposed to be a "Plan-B". There's no escape hatch. Marriage means that when two unique parties come together, they do so with a plan to commit to one another and to become one as they continue to grow together in Christ. What beautiful imagery for two churches coming together, and becoming one, growing deeper in love and affection for one another in times that are glamorous and times that require humility and deference to one another.
3. Marriage is covenantal language- our society does not really understand covenants. Covenants were intended to be binding. There was no escape clause written into covenants. That is why God describes His love for us in covenantal language. His love for us is "always, forever, never relenting, never giving up kind of love". This is something that is foreign to our culture but central to the heart of God. And when it is put on display, it is beautiful. Which blends right into the next point...
4. Marriage is a beautiful picture of God's love for this world- This is one of the big reasons why Christians fight for the sanctity of marriage. Marriage is the picture that God used to describe his love for the church. Marriage is the picture that God used to describe the church in all of its radiant glory in Revelation. Marriage is THE illustration of what covenantal love is supposed to look like.
Marriage goes BEYOND merger. Merger is two separate entities coming together and co-existing. Marriage is two separate entities coming together and becoming ONE in Christ!
5. Marriage implies mutual servitude- I am not saying this to earn any brownie points with the Mrs., but I LOVE SERVING MY WIFE. And, you know what's really cool? She loves serving me. We do not just write a task list and divvy up the needs of the household and see what we can accomplish. We try to go out of our way to serve one another in love. THAT is what the world needs to see out of the church of Jesus Christ! Marriage implies servitude. Merger does not. Marriage implies that we serve one another out of love, and that is a sovereign joy.
In short, in marriage, servitude is a "GET TO" not a "HAVE TO"
6. Marriage is a picture of deferring to one another in love- at the risk of sounding like I am contradicting the point above, sometimes in order to love my wife well, I have to defer to her desires, and she has to defer to mine. This does not mean that I am not able to lead. This does not mean that she does not want to be led. But sometimes, in marriage, you ask yourself, "Is this really that important?", or "Why does my flesh want to make a big deal out of something when I know that the Lord would have me humble myself in love?". Well, the flesh can be strong. But in a marriage, when we learn to defer to one another in love, humility wins, and when humility wins, Jesus wins, which leads me to my final point...
7. Marriage exalts Jesus- A humble, biblical, Christ-Centered marriage is one of the most Christ-exalting pictures of God's love. Merger says "convenience", while marriage says, "sacrificial love". Sacrificial love continues to exalt Christ, even when its not convenient. Even when it takes a little work. Even when it takes learning to see what is beautiful about your spouse rather than constantly picking out what needs improvement. The goal of marriage is to love like Jesus loves.
So, as we approach this next venture, may it be a marriage, that shows the world that Who we belong to by our love for one another, that people may look and believe that we were sent, even as Christ was sent, and that He may receive all the glory.