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Over the Threshold

We had over 300 people at our wedding, 11 bridesmaids, 11 groomsmen, 5 honorary bridesmaids, and 3 ushers.  It was an amazing day FULL of all our favorite people in one place!  As with most wedding ceremonies, ours was a public declaration of our covenant before many witnesses.  After the ceremony we joined the guests for a dinner of heavy hors de oeuvres, cake, champagne, and dancing.  The entire day was my extrovert dream come true; I had bubbly interaction after bubbly interaction with all the folks who were most important to me.  My new hubby and I chatted and danced and chatted and danced and never even stopped to eat.
But at the end of night, with stars twinkling above and sparklers lighting our way, we hopped into my obscenely decorated Jetta (thanks to my wily younger brother) and drove away … just the two of us.  Though much of the day was spent with hundreds of people in a very public celebration, the day ended in an intensely private consummation of our wedding vows.
Lately I’ve been pondering the public and private facets of the Christian life.  Just as the wedding day moves from a public celebration toward a private consummation, our relationship with God should reflect the public and personal facets as well.  It is so easy for Christians to live toward one of these extremes.
The popular notion of a “lone-ranger Christian,” disconnected from a local church, is certainly not a picture of biblical Christianity.  God clearly intends for His people to be a part of a church – worshipping Him corporately, hearing preaching of His Word, praying for one another, utilizing their gifts for the benefit of others and receiving the blessings of others’ gifts.
But in another sense, our relationship with God is intensely personal and should have a very private element to it as well.  In fact, the metaphor of a wedding day is particularly helpful because as Tim Keller writes, “The ecstasy and joy of sex is supposed to be a foretaste of the complete ecstasy and joy of total union with Christ.”  And more specifically he states, “Great sex is a parable of the Gospel – to be utterly accepted in spite of your sin, to be loved by the One you admire to the sky.”
God has made a way in Jesus for us to drop all of our pretenses and come NEAR to Him.  He doesn’t want us to simply have information about Him; He wants intimacy.  God isn’t looking for our ritual, but rather He’s interested in a relationship.  He has made a way for our private times of worship to be as vibrant, celebratory, moving, and profound as our corporate times of worship.
Dive in head first to your local church: get to know its members, serve, receive, and grow.  But don’t miss out on the richness of knowing God intimately.  Among many other things, in Christ you’re invited to draw near to God and find refuge under His wings (Ps. 91:4), enjoy His presence (Ps. 16:11), live a full life (John 10:10), find healing for your wounded places (Ps. 147:3), receive supernatural comfort (2 Cor. 1:3), hear from God (John 10:27), and trade your anxiety for His peace (Ps. 29:11).  The Lover of your Soul awaits.
Ashlee Johnson

Ashlee is the wife of a pastor, mom of two busy little ones, and a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Seminary. She is passionate about communicating the truths of Scripture to women and magnifying Jesus as the All-Satisfying Treasure and Almighty Redeemer. She has lived in North Carolina for most of her life and loves making the most of the sidewalks and parks in her 1940s neighborhood. Ashlee enjoys healthy eating and exercising, but finds it nearly impossible to resist homemade cookies!

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