Purpose Directs Love
One of my mentors, Bishop Johnny Young Jr. said something early in my theological studies when speaking about marriage. He said when he counsel couples concerning marriage, he ask them, “why are you getting married?”, and the default answer is usually, “because I love him/her…”. His response to this answer changed my perspective forever. His response to someone that says, “because I love him/her” is, “that not a good reason to be married. You should get married because of purpose, not strictly based off love.”
This response rocked my thought process. However, the more I mediated on that response, the more I realized nothing is more important than purpose. Now, before I get my theologians to respond with, God is Love so how is purpose more important than love? I would like to clarify. God is Love, but he’s also a God of purpose. Everything God did has a significant purpose with it. Now, the catalyst for God’s purpose is love. This is confirmed in John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:19, etc. So, love is the a catalyst for purpose; however, purpose is what anchors this love. Purpose will always properly navigate love. I need to prove that to you.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus actually prayed to his Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will. (Matthew 26:39 NKJV) Jesus knew his purpose, and we have established in scripture (John 3:16) the catalyst for his purpose was indeed love; however, we still read here how Jesus asked God, his father to let this cup pass from him. What was “this cup”? His upcoming death on the cross. His responsibility, his very reason for coming to the Earth, his purpose. Jesus is briefly saying, with sweat like drops of blood falling, “I don’t want to do this”. Again, he was brief; because the next statement was, nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will. There’s will be days whether it’s marriage, working at your job, evening going to church, where you will have this
Garden of Gethsemane moment. That moment where you will say, I don’t want to do this. Where love won’t be present at that exact moment, in this moment you must remind yourself of God’s purpose in your marriage, in your job, in your local church and response as Jesus did, “…nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Jesus made purpose more important than his own desire.
I challenge and encourage you today, ask God the hard questions of, “what’s my purpose?” What is your purpose in marriage, for your children? What’s your purpose on your job, your church and every relationship you currently have? So once you have that Garden of Gethsemane moment, you allow HIS purpose to direct your love.
— Ewell Netter