By Rudy Hagood
Have you ever considered how unthinkable it is that we have intimacy with the Spirit of God within our marital unions? The prophet Malachi asked this simple rhetorical question: “Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union?” (Malachi 2:15, English Standard Version).
Your marriage is not simply between two people, but three, since it includes the third person of the godhead. For this reason, I want to talk about the health of our marriages by talking about how we engage God.
Since our marital unions consist of three people, knowing and loving God takes on a unique and nuanced perspective once we are married. So, I wonder, What love language does God speak?
That question causes me to think of Gary Chapman, who in 1995 came out with his signature book, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. The five love languages are words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch.
These may work with our spouses, but I believe God has his own love language. I think God has a way to express heartfelt commitment to his people and a way to receive love back. I believe God’s love language is pursuit.
God Pursues Us
Ephesians 2 reveals that we were dead in our transgressions. Dead! We were without life, without animation, without desire; we were expired, done, and without hope. Yet, Ephesians 2 reveals that God, through his “great love . . . made us alive together with Christ”! Wait. Before reading on, think about that for a moment. We had no inkling to even begin to approach God and he pursued us! What kind of love is this?
One morning on my drive to work I listened to the David Crowder Band sing “How He Loves,” and these lyrics wrecked me: “He is jealous for me. Loves like a hurricane. I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.” It’s too much for me . . . his love, pursuit, grace, and his mercy . . . it all has me bending like a tree, at the mercy of the wind, under the weight of such “great love.” God loves me, and he is jealous for me. He has an overwhelming passionate love for you and for me. It’s unthinkable!
This is not new. God has always been in pursuit of us. God has always gone out of his way for us, and he wants us to respond in kind. You see, Christian marriage is a love relationship, and its love language is pursuit. God has pursued us, and he calls us to live a life in pursuit of him. God said, “You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine” (Leviticus 20:26, ESV). Can you feel God’s passion for those who are his? Can you see that he has done everything to be in relationship with you and he wants you to pursue him in return? He tells us, Be holy to me! Be separate to me! Be about me! Can you feel God’s heart and desire to be in an existence-shattering love with his people . . . with you and with me?
We Pursue God
The apostle Paul lived in full pursuit of Jesus Christ. Paul said he pressed “toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14, King James Version). Paul never took his foot off the gas. God pursued Paul (as he pursues us), and in response, Paul spent his life pursuing God. He wanted to know “Christ Jesus my Lord. . . and the power of his resurrection, and [to] share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:8, 10-11).
This was not a statement of conversion. Paul had been converted 40 years earlier. Yet, he was still striving to “know” Christ! He was still googly eyed in that sense! He was still in full-on courtship. He was still pressing in for perfect intimacy.
If relationship with God was a jar of peanut butter, Paul was scraping everything he could get out of that jar. He wanted the power of his resurrection, which means he wanted holiness. He wanted to share in his suffering, which means he wanted devotion. He, like a son, wanted to put on Daddy’s clothes. That’s why he said, “becoming like him in his death.” Paul had no limits and no pride. He would do anything to attain the resurrection from the dead. He would do anything to finish the race and be with the One he loved. Paul pursued God with a passion only love could produce! Simply stated, Paul got it. He loved God, so he spoke God’s love language. My God, give us all this pursuit!
We Pursue God Together
Finally, as it relates to our three-person unions with our spouse and the Holy Spirit, because of our relationship with Jesus Christ, we are in full-on relationship with the godhead, and our marital unions form another trinity. A trinity connected by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
We are intimate with God the Father, with God the Son, and with God the Sprit! Is that unthinkable or what? It’s a crazy-person, imaginative-little-kid, Hollywood-drawn-out climax scene for marital unions to be this kind of intimate with God. How could this even happen?
The answer is right in our faces.
God pursues us. He pursues our marriages. Our unions, then, are to pursue God together. Loving God as individuals and as unions, is to speak the language of pursuit.