By Vic Schober
Feb. 10, 2013
I well remember my wedding day. Naomi and I have enjoyed more than 50 wonderful years as we have lived out the ups and downs of life committed to each other exclusively.
It was on a June 25 in San Antonio, that we stood side-by-side in front of a host of family members and friends to repeat our wedding vows before God and all of our guests — and my soon-to-be father-in-law, who was the officiating minister.
First, he asked me this question: “Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, keep you only to her, so long as you both shall live?”
Of course, I responded, “I will.” I had no intention of doing otherwise … my new father-in-law, my own father, and my Heavenly Father would all have been very disappointed in me if I had thought otherwise.
Second, he instructed me to repeat these vows: “I, Vic, take thee, Naomi, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge you my trust.”
My most vivid memory of our wedding was the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit as we proceeded with the ceremony. Everybody in the wedding party was touched, and we all wept a few tears as He “moved upon us” and blessed us. It was over in a matter of 30 minutes or so … and we were husband and wife — no longer two, but one!
“Forsaking all others” and “till death us do part” were such important phrases in our ceremony. Since that day I have, as an officiating minister myself, had more than 300 couples repeat such vows and pledge to be faithful and committed to each other in wholehearted devotion in marriage.
“Last things” are lasting things
I once made a study of the “last things” of the Bible and discovered some wonderful truths in Revelation 22, as I made my study in the Amplified Bible. Look at these concluding categories, particularly the final one:
The Last Proclamation: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last” (v. 13).
The Last Beatitude: “Blessed (happy and to be envied) are those who cleanse their garments, that they may have the authority and right to [approach] the tree of life and to enter through the gates into the city” (v. 14).
The Last Invitation: “The [Holy] Spirit and the bride (the church, the true Christians) say, Come! And let him who is listening say, Come!” (v. 17).
The Last Warning: “I [personally solemnly] warn everyone who listens to the statements of the prophecy [the predictions and the consolations and admonitions pertaining to them] in this book: If anyone shall add anything to them, God will add and lay upon him the plagues (the afflictions and the calamities) that are recorded and described in this book” (v. 18).
The Last Promise: “[Surely] I am coming quickly!” (v. 20).
The Last Prayer: “Yes, come, Lord Jesus!” (v. 20).
The Last Blessing: “The grace (blessing and favor) of the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) be with all the saints (God’s holy people, those set apart for God, to be, as it were, exclusively His). Amen (so let it be)!” (v. 21).
That phrase, “exclusively His,” in the amplified reading in v. 21 jumped off the page at me. When I accepted Jesus as my Bridegroom and He accepted me as His bride, I became exclusively His and He became exclusively mine. Following the “holy wedding” of my salvation, when I said, “I will,” to Him, our “spiritual marriage” was to be for time and eternity.
Now I belonged to Jesus, and Jesus belonged to me.
Now I would reject all other suitors desiring my attention and my affection because I belonged to Him. No more flirting with the devil and his tempting thoughts, words or involvements.
Now I was a member of the family of God, truly one of the royals.
Now I was to be deeply devoted … no division of interests, aspirations or desires. I had one thing in mind — just as the apostle Paul had when he wrote these words: “One thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward” (Philippians 3:13,14).
Paul had said earlier in Philippians 3:10, “[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly].”
Then Paul declared: “I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own” (v. 12).
What powerful phrases — “my determined purpose,” “deeply and intimately acquainted,” and “to grasp and make my own.” I want to perceive and recognize and understand the wonders of His Person. Oh, to be truly Christ-centered in my daily walk!
In 1 Corinthians 2:2, we find this powerful resolution by Paul: “For I resolved to know nothing (to be acquainted with nothing, to make a display of the knowledge of nothing, and to be conscious of nothing) among you except Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and Him crucified.”
Nothing else. Just one thing — Jesus Christ! He is to be the first, the foremost, and the finest in all of our dreams, desires and aspirations. Our lives must be Christ-centered as we walk the narrow way.
I truly depend on Christ for everything. He is my best friend, my best counselor, and my best guide! He has been my healer and my health for decades. When I need comfort, I go to Him. When I need strength, I go to Him. When I need confidence, I go to Him.
Our present society is constantly telling us to be self-reliant, self-assured, self-developed, self-fulfilled, self-possessed and on it goes. Yet the Bible instructs us to be Christ-reliant, Christ-assured, Christ-developed, Christ-fulfilled and Christ-possessed. Which way do you think is the best way?
The narrow way is the Christ-centered way. Let’s focus on Him. It’s like carefully adjusting the lens of your camera so there is nothing blurry in the picture to be taken. May Christ be distinctly clear in your viewer. Nothing hazy or indistinct about your vision of Him.
The Holy Spirit helps us obtain a clear view of Christ. With the Spirit’s help, you can center Christ in the picture. Adjust your view of Him today. Sharply define Him in your thoughts as you pursue Him with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:15-20, NIV).
No wonder Paul said, “Whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection” (Philippians 3:7-10).
Is Jesus the number-one aspiration of your life? Is He first and foremost in your desire to gain the best that is available in this life? Remember what is the best: JesusWay, JesusTruth, and JesusLife!
Adapted from The (H)impossible Way by Vic Schober (Round Rock, Texas, 2011). Used with permission.
VIC SCHOBER served as superintendent of the Assemblies of God North Texas District and lives in Round Rock, Texas.
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