February 6, 2017
A few years ago on Valentine’s Day, my husband, James, surprised me. He arranged a dozen roses in a vase all by himself and cooked dinner for our family of five. I was expecting pizza bagels, but instead, he served stir-fry chicken. After dinner, he announced that the kids were going to Grandma’s, and we were going out. I assumed dessert at a restaurant but instead, James drove to a park overlooking the city.
We walked to a picnic table where he took out two cups of ice cream. Then to my dismay, I mean delight, he spread out a blanket and invited me to sit down, then leaned in for a kiss. We are married, you know. But all I could think was, Oh no! In the shadows, we’ll probably look like the kissing teenagers that nice moms and dads try to avoid with their kids.
James noticed my hesitancy and said, “We used to kiss all the time when we were dating and you didn’t seem to mind. You weren’t so self-conscious and worried. Now we’re married — it should be more OK!” He was right.
Where was the younger version of myself, the woman who loved kissing her man, holding hands and snuggling close? I was never embarrassed or hesitant to show my affection for my fiancé. That Valentine’s Day in the park, I discovered I needed to be a little less self-conscious and a little more affection-conscious.
Solomon’s wife proclaimed in today’s key verse, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth — for your love is more delightful than wine.” This is a verse packed with passion. She desired her husband and his affection. She didn’t think kissing was embarrassing, inconvenient or a waste of time.
And since it’s in the Bible, I can safely assume God likes married people kissing, too.
After many years in a relationship, the fire of first love tends to grow dim. This happens in marriage, and it happens in our relationship with God. In Revelation 2:1-7, John the Apostle writes about the church in Ephesus. The Ephesians had been faithful and hardworking, but God had one thing against them: They had left their first love.
A warning was issued: “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place — unless you repent” (Revelation 2:5, NKJV).
This church was known for the zeal with which they embraced their salvation. They realized they loved Christ because Christ first loved them. (1 John 4:19) They were dead in sin and then made alive in Christ. (Ephesians 2:1-5)
Whether we’re single or married, we are wise to go back to this first love with Jesus. We can return to those first works of love and affection, service and obedience, amazement and appreciation. We must hunger and thirst once again to be in God’s presence. Like a stale marriage, we can lose the passion and fervor we once had for God. We can accept the status quo and sit comfortably in spiritual complacency.
Sometimes it takes a little reminder to get us back on track.
That Valentine’s night in the park, I had to apologize to my starry-eyed husband and repent with a kiss. Believe me, through the years I’ve had to repent many times for being too busy or preoccupied or uninterested in my husband’s affection. The same is true in my relationship with God.
Don’t wait for something external to happen to fan the flames of love for Christ. Instead, take time to remember how far God has brought you and what a difference being loved has made in your life. And if you’re married, don’t be embarrassed to kiss your husband, even on a blanket in the park!
Dear God, I am ever grateful to be loved by You. I remember what You have done to save and deliver me from sin. Thank You for making me alive and redeeming my life from the pit. I return to You, my first love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 2:4-7, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Think about the warmth and love you felt towards Christ when you first became a Christian. How can you return to those attitudes and actions today?
If you’re married, how do you usually respond to your husband’s affection? Make the decision to kiss him each day this month for 5 to 30 seconds.
© 2017 by Arlene Pellicane. All rights reserved.