Yesterday, my wife and I celebrated 8 years of marriage. As much as I loved and knew my wife the day we were married, it's nothing compared to how I love and know her now. Lord willing, I will be able to say the same years down the road. But that didn't just happen on its own. To grow in our love & knowledge, we needed to pursue each other. Well...the same goes for our relationship with Jesus. Our love for him and knowledge of him should only grow through the years, but that doesn't happen on its own. We must pursue Jesus and draw near to him. And know this - he is pursuing you too.
Hey everybody, and welcome back to the Set Your Mind Above Podcast! I’m your host BJ Sipe – I’m a Christian, a preacher, a husband, and a father. In this podcast we take everyday, ordinary events and explore how they can teach us extraordinary, eternal truths. I’m so glad that you joined me for this episode. Now, let’s open up our minds, our hearts, and our Bible’s together.
Yesterday I woke up with boyhood wonder fairly early in the morning, but not for the reason that you would think. While it is true that the ground was dusted with our very first snow of the fall leading into winter, that was not what had me so awestruck yesterday. It was for this reason, that my wife and I were celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary. I know for so many of you that are listening in to this podcast, you chuckle hearing 8 years because you perhaps have already been married for decades to your spouse. Well we’ll catch up with you at some point, Lord willing, but I woke up feeling like the luckiest and most blessed man on the face of this earth. As I got up and got coffee and breakfast ready for her and the kids, I started to reflect on how much has changed over the past 8 years of our life. We were such kids when we got married, and since then it feels like we have crammed about 30 years worth of life experience into the past near decade. 3 states, 3 churches, and 3 babies from 5 pregnancies. That is a whole lot of change over such a short period of time. But there is one thing that has changed more than anything – more than where we live, our family dynamics or my work, and that has been our marriage. If I were to compare where Kylie and I are now in our marriage verses where we started out, the difference is night and day. I am sure that each of you who are married and have been for quite some time understand exactly what I mean when I say that. 8 years ago when we said our vows, there is no doubt in my mind that I loved my wife and that I knew her very well. She was my best friend then, and she is my best friend today. However, what I didn’t realize is how much more I could grow to love and know her. As time has gone by, we have drawn closer to one another, and our level of intimacy has only deepened with each new year. This is because we have learned how to better love each other, and we have continued to learn about one another. In a marriage, you should never stop learning about your spouse. You would think after 8 years of living together that we would know about all there is to know about the other person, but that is far from the truth. The fact is that I have so much to still learn about my wife, and it doesn’t happen on its own. I have to continually pursue my wife to come to know her even better with each passing day. And as we spend more time together and talk more and experience things together, that is how I learn to love her even better than before. I am so grateful to be married to the woman that I am married to, and I am so grateful for the life that we have together. More than anything, I’m so grateful that my wife also pursues me and is committed to loving me too.
Today’s podcast is not actually about marriage, nor is it intended to just be a shameless plug for how incredibly awesome my wife is. While that certainly is a fact set in stone, I believe that there is an important lesson for us to learn about the most important relationship in our lives, even more than our relationship to our spouse. And that is our relationship to Jesus. I want you to go back to when you first were drawn to Jesus – you heard about his love, his grace, and his mercy. You witnessed the joy and peace that others had in their lives who knew him, and you wanted to learn more about him. So you drew near, you studied, and you made the decision to enter into your own relationship with Jesus and obeyed the gospel. Let me ask you – did you love Jesus when you obeyed the gospel? Did you know him? Well, most certainly your answer would be yes! But now let me ask you another question…is your love or knowledge of him the same today as it was then? I want us to consider a few passages of Scripture together. First, let us consider what the apostle Peter concludes his second letter by saying. He writes, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18) The fact is while you came to Christ because you love him & came to know him, there is so much more to learn about him. There are so many ways that we should grow to love him even better and deeper with every passing day. However, that does not happen on its own. Just because time passes does not mean that we will automatically grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. If we really want to love Jesus better & come to know him even more with each passing year, we must pursue him. Let us consider what James, the brother of Jesus, had to say in the fourth chapter of his letter and verse eight. He writes, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” Are you pursuing Jesus? That seems like an odd question, but it’s a legitimate one. Let me perfectly blunt with you all – there were great periods of my life where when it came to my relationship with Christ, I was laissez faire at best. If you asked me if I loved Jesus or if I knew him, I would have said, “sure” – I mean, I went to church and all, that counts for something, doesn’t it? Isn’t that what good Christians do? Go to church, put some money in the plate, and pray before you eat, right? All the while, my relationship with Jesus suffered. We did not have intimacy, we grew further and further apart because of my neglect. It happens in marriage if you’re not careful, and it can happen with your relationship to Jesus too. My friends, you need to pursue Jesus! It wasn’t until I finally made my faith my own and realized what I had done, how I had hurt Christ, until I finally started to do so. We’ve got to pick up our Bibles, we’ve got to talk with him – not just to bless our food, but to invite him into every aspect of our lives. We need to trust him and start submitting to his lead in even the difficult things. We need to go out of our way to show him how we love him. But here is the amazing thing…he doesn’t just want you to chase after him. He is pursing you too. If we draw near to God, he will also draw near to us. In fact, he made the first move. It was while we were yet sinners that Christ died for us. He is the Good Shepherd that left the 99 to find me, his one lost sheep. I love because he first loved me. And he loves you too. So here is my shameless plug for how incredibly awesome Jesus is. Seek him. Pursue him. Know him. He made the first move…now, what’s yours?
Thank you for tuning in for this week’s episode, and I would invite you back every Tuesday for a brand-new episode each week. If you haven’t already, be sure to find us on Facebook for occasional announcements and special video sessions. If you have benefited from this podcast, please if you’re able to be sure to share it with someone else that you think could benefit from it as well. Until next time, know that I love you, that God loves you, and may we all each & every day set our minds above.