Normally I would be attempting to sleep at this hour (nine thirty in the evening to be exact). Mom life demands such ridiculous things, but tonight was my husband and I’s first night of our young adult marriage group. Disclaimer: no one actually showed up to our group. So we dropped our kids off at our church’s childcare, twiddled our thumbs for exactly five seconds in the lobby, and decided to go to the coffee shop a few blocks away. So you see, my late night espresso is the culprit for my delayed bed time. And yes, I pray that I do not regret my rebellious caffeine choices tomorrow.
As odd as it may sound, I am grateful for our marriage group currently consisting of just my husband and I. I don’t think it is a coincidence that our first official group’s semester would start out this way. The Lord set apart a good hour and a half without distractions (children) in order for the two of us to sit knee to knee, whispering to each other our passions and fears, dreams and goals, scriptures and prayers. We were able to focus on one another and our partnership with God for an unhindered minute, and it was perfect. The love scripture we discussed was so relevant it would almost seem like we planned it this way, but we didn’t. The Holy Spirit is just cool like that.
“Set me as a seal upon your heart,
As a seal upon your arm;
For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy as cruel as the grave;
Its flames are flames of fire,
A most vehement flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor can the floods drown it.” (Song of Solomon 8:7 NKJV)
Love is a vehement flame. The word vehement used here literally means “the flame of Yahweh” or “flame of the Lord”. I believe this principle of love equating God is parallel to 1 John 4:7-19 (definitely give it a read). God is love. We can only love because He first loved us. This love was made manifest through the life, death and resurrection of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah! The world is seeking true love, but we are looking to create something that only lives in one place: the flame of Yahweh.
Quite often we find ourselves burning out or running on empty because we are pouring out our love. That sounds very self-sacrificial and religious, but the emphasis is on our love when we should be pouring out God’s love. Yahweh, the only everlasting flame of love, exists outside of any shadow of love that mundanes could ever attempt to create. True love is God! Yahweh must be our source and the rest will flourish from Him. God is the fire burning in our veins! Everything else is just a spark, a flicker, a shadow of the flame of Yahweh. God must be at the very core of our relationships or they will burn out.
God’s love for us becomes jealous when we play the harlot. The Hebrew word for jealous used in Song of Solomon 8 is qinah and it translates to zeal, anger, envy, passion, and rivalry. God does not like it when we try to be Him. When we attempt to love others with our wooden carvings of what we think love is, we are saying that His vehement flame is not enough. We are saying that Jesus, God’s Love incarnate, is not enough.
God has no rival. Therefore, all mock idols of mankind’s prosthetic love will fail. God is love and His love never fails.
So what now? Dive into the vats of your soul and find the places untouched by the love of God. Let Him fill you completely with His love. Constantly look to the cross to see what love looks like. Root yourself in God’s love, and all of the rest will overflow.
Set Him as a seal, a sign, an imprint on your heart and arm. Put Him everywhere you can think of so that you are constantly reminded of your First Love, Yahweh. Personally, I have key scriptures that point me to God written on little note cards and placed all over my house. It’s not exactly glamorous, but it’s my battle plan to continue having the mind of Christ.
My friend called me today with another example of setting God’s love as a seal in our lives. (I won’t share her name, and will use ‘P’ for the example). P and her husband have been dealing with a hurdle in their marriage. Yesterday they decided to write out a battle plan for the upcoming week: what they will do and what they won’t do in order for their household to serve the Lord in unity. Then they signed the bottom and prayed over it. P told me that she put this written vision on her bathroom mirror and also set it as her screensaver on her phone. P and her husband plan to do this once a week as they work on this hurdle and as they develop new goals so that they will stay rooted in God’s love. I believe this is P and her husband’s seal. Isn’t that amazing?! What a story of victory!
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NKJV)
I do not believe that this is a to-do list. I think this is our Table of Contents of the fruit that will spring forth in our lives once we allow the vehement flame of Yahweh to burn within us. We can only love because He first loved us (1 John 4: 19) and we must stay in His love if we hope to love others with true love. Seek first His kingdom and righteousness, and all of these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33).
One of the worship songs that really spoke to me this week is Unstoppable Love by Jesus culture; listen to it here.