Romance, heroism…and glory!

Jean-Honoré_Fragonard_-_The_Stolen_KissOne of the many things my wife, Maureen, has helped me to understand is the value of love stories and romance. Over the last 37 years I’ve known her, I’ve seen dozens of “chick flicks.” I’ve also had advanced classical training in Jane Austen (Pride & Prejudice), Emma Orczy (Scarlet Pimpernel), and Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre), which I’m sure is God’s subtle way of helping me find my inner feminine side. 🙂

On the other hand, raising three boys, and being married to one, Maureen has attended many sporting events and watched guy movies over the years, like Braveheart (although she still refuses to see Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers,” which are the quintessential “guy flicks.”) All of which I’m sure are designed to help round out her human experience.

Why do these love stories bring a tear to our eyes (even us men, if we will be brave enough to admit it), and why do acts of heroism and courage move us so?

braveheartWhy does seeing the love between two people blossom and overcome great obstacles, like in Jane Eyre, or Mel Gibson’s character, William Wallace, crying out “Freedom!” with his last breath in the movie, Braveheart, pull on our heart strings?

It’s all because we were created for glory.

Glory can best be defined as “God’s divine nature revealed.” God is love, so glory is always about love. It’s seen among us in the passionate affections between two lovers, the other-centered love of parents for their children, or in the selfless acts of sacrifice of the courageous.

On the other hand, we’re also moved by the poignancy of unrequited love, and we sense the inglorious whenever there’s unfaithfulness, injustice, or acts of cold-hearted cruelty.

We’re moved by these things because we are “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet.1:4)…something profoundly and deeply resonates within us because we’re experiencing a little bit of the very heart of God.

Our justification (forgiveness of sin) is only the beginning of our journey with God; the ultimate goal is our glorification. God chose us for sonship before He created anything (Eph.1:4-5) so that we could fully express His glory (bold type added):

29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Rom.8:29-30 NKJV)

Christ has given us His glory so that we can live in community—both in our placement in His relationship with the Father in heavenly places and with each other on this earth.

22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one. (John 17:22 NKJV)

Family_smI shared in my post, “Eternal life and heaven are about relationship,” that heaven is really  about connection. This is also what makes our lives meaningful, which is why broken relationships and disconnection hurts so much. We get a small taste of what hell must be like.

Glory is about going deeper, into greater connection and relational intimacy. We were created to move from “glory to glory” as we behold God (2 Cor.3:18). As we connect more deeply to God, we connect more deeply to one another. We must see this greater glory as a greater capacity for other-centered love.

This glory must affect our marriages, our families, our faith, our communities, our work…all of our relationships. Otherwise, what is it? Have we actually experienced glory? Or have we been looking for something to distract our walled-up and wounded hearts? Something to entertain us and keep us from getting bored, or something we can brag about?

Beloved, glory is so not that! Glory frees the human heart to fully love.

And when our heart is free to love, we begin to see glory all around us. We see it in our literature, music, and movies…in simple acts of service to our fellow man…we experience it while looking up at the stars on a warm summer night with our children on our laps.

Glory changes us and shapes us, making us more human.

We dare not look at any of these things as secular, but manifestations of divine glory among us, something truly sacred and most precious.

mohEvery act of courage is glory because it requires a death of our need to protect ourselves. Every act of heroism is glory because someone was thinking about you and me more than their own lives. Jesus called this the ultimate act of love:

13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. (John 15:13 NKJV)

We see this sacrificial love most gloriously demonstrated in Christ’s death for us on the cross. This love compels us not to live for ourselves but to live for Christ, partaking in Christ’s glory, which always leads to living selflessly for others.

14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. (2 Cor.5:14-15 NKJV)

Glorious one in Christ, you weren’t saved just to be forgiven; you were saved for glory! Walk in it, live in it, be loved in it, and love others passionately and sacrificially with it. For when you do, you are assured of a life well-lived in ever-increasing glory!

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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 36 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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12 Responses to Romance, heroism…and glory!

  1. aareavis says:

    So I’m obsessed with Cinderella. God has really unpacked the Gospel for me through this story. Normally, I would rather see action/thrillers before romance but maybe Cinderella speaks to that little girl in my head and heart.

    • Mel Wild says:

      It’s interesting that you bring up Cinderella. Very good analogy. Fairytales also reveal glory and tell us a lot about life and the Kingdom. That’s why I used them in my book. For instance, the church is Sleeping Beauty right now, and we’re being kissed awake by the Prince (Jesus!).
      Thanks for your comments, Much appreciated. Blessings.

      • aareavis says:

        I recently posted about Tarzan. There’s a new movie coming out. A line from the trailer goes, “My husband is no normal man.” Mind. Blown. That’s kind of my thing. I pick the Gospel out of everyday things.

  2. aareavis says:

    And I’d add that Cinderella was just looking to have a night off. What she got was a kingdom. God is good!

  3. Mel, there is so much love in this post. And please tell Maureen I highly recommend Private Ryan. I think I’ve seen it three times, and each time I’ve had a box of tissue nearby. So much in it – scene after scene – about love, relationships and grace, and about trusting God in all circumstances.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks Susan. Maureen doesn’t like any movie where all the heroes die. Of course, that’s because it’s a true story, and true stories don’t always end with the hero riding off into the sunset. 🙂 But, like you said, it really shows us about real life, relationships, trusting…and also about how we’re often originally reluctant to do the right thing, or don’t even understand why we should be doing it, but when we go through with it, glorious things happen in the end, even if we don’t personally see it in our own lifetime. That sacrificial love is the truest glory!

  4. Pingback: Becoming human – part one | In My Father's House

  5. What a great relationship you and your wife have. God being at the center of a marriage can bridge any conflict over the years.

    My handsome hubby and I also watch a variety of films (and I love Band of Brothers by the way) on our date night. Kindness and tenderness are great attributes that we have inherited from our Lord. Compromise comes about from our love for each other more than ourselves, another characteristic inherited from Christ. Blessings,

    • Mel Wild says:

      “Kindness and tenderness are great attributes that we have inherited from our Lord.”

      That is very true. God has brought us through a lot of tenderizing over the years (ouch!), but it’s all been worth it! By allowing Him to work on us, we have it to give away to others.

      Maureen will watch most guy flicks, except the ones where all the heroes die. I told her just to think of it as a Shakespearean tragedy, but she hasn’t been convinced yet! 🙂 Other than that, we’ve learned how to keep the love on, no matter what the situation. I am so blessed to have such an awesome family (second picture in post). We have a wonderful relationship with our adult children, and what you said about kindness and tenderness and other-centered love has made all the difference.

      Thank you for your comments. Blessings to you and yours.

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