All of life is about giving on one level or another. We spend our lives giving to people each day. We give to people at home, work or school. And yet, while many may not realize it, all of this giving to others is just a dress rehearsal and practice for giving ourselves to the Lord. The best place to see that going on is in the story of marriage between a man and woman. This past weekend, my beloved daughter got married. I had the privilege of giving her away to her new husband. Both of them had the joy of giving themselves away to one another. The story of giving our lives to another, as seen in marriage, is the narrative of how the Lord gave Himself away for His Bride on the Cross.
Now if you look at our society today, it seems increasingly harder for people to give themselves away to anyone or anything. Ours is a society that fears commitment and sacrifice. Ours is a culture that is dominated by the self. So, the idea of completely giving oneself away to another out of love and altruism seems hard to find. That problem extends far beyond marriage to every relationship. Instead it seems that many people are more conditioned to seeing how much they can get from others. Sacrifice and giving of one's life to and for another is foreign.
Sadly, many people are not able to give themselves away to anyone. Multitudes are wounded, broken and fearful of giving to anyone. Many people fear relational intimacy and hold back from such giving because that kind of giving has often been rejected or never experienced. Increasing numbers of our youth have not seen any real role modeling of genuine giving or sacrifice to and for another. Without these key role models, people lack the basic tools and ability to be in healthy relationships with others. As a result, many seem to have their concept of relationships, giving and commitment to others defined by "friending" someone on social media.
Without the interest and necessary skills to give oneself away to others and the Lord, a society ends up lonely and isolated in private worlds of our own making. These private worlds seem safe for a season, but end up turning into prisons. Countless millions of people are living in those worlds tonight. The Lord never meant for us to be alone and focused on ourselves. We were designed to give ourselves away to the Lord and others. Without such giving to meet our deepest needs, we turn to counterfeits that are centered on the self, leaving us empty. This growing void helps to explain the explosion of recreational drugs we see all around us.
Of course, the ONLY Person to totally give Himself away freely and fully to others was the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the story of the Bible. Our Lord held nothing back. It was all poured out completely and fully on the Cross during our Lord's passion. Sin, on the other hand, is an inordinate focus on the self that is not interested in giving oneself to anyone or anything. Sin is never about giving oneself to others. Sin creates "closed circles" of the self and leaves us alone and afraid in life, like Adam and Eve hiding in the Garden.
When genuine, spiritual relationships are created by the full and complete giving away of oneself to the Lord and others, Heaven on Earth is created. No longer are things held back out of fear and selfishness. In such a world, people can form real and meaningful relationships that define and enrich life in an amazing way. This wonderful world of love and giving relationships was first modeled by God Himself. The Father loves the Son in the Spirit. Each Person in the Godhead gave themselves fully to One Another. Hence, the Lord's own being is THE model and template for all genuine relationships that we are looking for in life. The Lord wants nothing less for us than He has for Himself.
So, while few may see it, the Bible is really a manual for lovers. Its theme in the beginning is the marriage of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:24 and it closes with our Lord as the Last Adam with His Bride in Revelation 21:2. In the middle our Lord Jesus came to show us what it all meant on the Cross. When our Lord's love, sacrifice and total commitment for us is understood, we give ourselves away to Him and fulfill the words of Song of Solomon 6:3 that says,
I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine.
Those kind of intimate, loving and giving relationships really do exist. It started in Heaven and will end on Earth. We belong to the Lord and the Lord belongs to us. May all of us leave our little worlds of self-focus behind and run into the arms of our Lord and Bridegroom. May we find in Him the joy and freedom to give ourselves away to Him and others in this life and the world to come. Amen.