As children, we believe in fairy tales. Girls hope to become beautiful Cinderellas, and boys hope to become Prince Charmings, strong and handsome riders of white horses who rescue maidens in distress.
Too soon, having a Barbie Doll appearance or owning a Dodge Charger replaces childhood dreams. Later, the castle becomes a duplex, the prince morphs into a frog, and the wicked stepmother assumes the persona of mother-in-law. Our fairy godmother misplaces our address and, absent a Facebook account, we lose touch with childhood friends.
Two books of the Bible, provocative and little discussed, speak to modern realities: “Song of Songs 2:1-7,” and “Titus 2:1-15.” “Song of Songs,” a love poem by Solomon, helps us relate to one another by forging a better union with the Lord. We see the Lord as groom and His church as bride.
In Titus, we find examples of right living, without ageism, in which families become beautiful, fruitful and faithful. Older women are asked to “train the younger women to love their husbands and children” (2:4). II Timothy 2:2 discusses the role of older men in advising younger males. Retirement from serving God is not optional. He demands, in Genesis 9:1, that we “be fruitful and multiply.”
God is smitten with His love of us. In “Song of Songs” (2:1), the woman of whom Solomon speaks expresses that “I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valley.” She simply sees herself as her lover—the Lord—sees her, without ego. The bride’s mirror is the face of The Lord (Christ), her bridegroom. How would your life appear, if Christ became your mirror?
There is a misconception that love confers commitment. For the young, intimacy often overpowers reason, and disguises lust as genuine love. With maturity, we learn the building blocks necessary to sustain a loving relationship.
“Song of Songs” (2:7) warns, “Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” This passage encourages us to safeguard romance until it can be properly nurtured. Like the Law of Mutual Submission, we must patiently develop our feelings of love and align them with the responsibilities of commitment.
“The Beauty & Fruitfulness of Fait,” describes faith placed in Christ that prepares us to lead productive lives. In biblical times, barrenness was a tragedy. But Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth, all barren, had hearts faithful to God, and were blessed in their faith. To be fruitful, we understand, is to know and serve a purpose in life. We can know joy with or without children, whether single or married.
Psalm 37:4 encourages us: “If we delight ourselves in the Lord He will give us the desires of our hearts.”
To become as we would wish–beautiful, strong, handsome or fruitful—we need only surrender our hearts to God. It is the inner beauty of our spirits, through our surrendered and committed hearts, that changes our lives to ones that are both faith-filled and fruitful.
The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door at 6001 NW 8th Ave., Miami. To contact the church, call 305-759-0373 or email the pastor at email@example.com.