"... the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul." -! Samuel 18:1
Love. It's a loaded word in our culture. A misunderstood word. And if the first things that comes to your mind when you hear it is the latest chick flick you saw, you are one of the misunderstanding.
Love is not what our society makes of it. Love is God - God is love. God loved before He ever loved us.
His love, the essence of His being, has existed eternally in the Godhead. There is love between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This love is our model.
Sometimes we run ahead. "... He first loved us." Yes, He loved us before we could love Him, but He was love eternally before loving us. He loved within Himself before we were created.
Now we represent His Body on earth - His Body that loves within itself. What does that look like?
Marriage? After all, marriage is a analogy photograph of Christ and the Church .
No. That's the "He loved us" part. That comes second to His love within Himself. But we get caught up. The culture bombards with impure relationships, temporal relationships, and bombing always destroys.
We think ourselves holy as we create a journal-long list of requirements for a future spouse. We've come so far in sanctification - we deserve someone just as good, and handsome too (or beautiful). Don't we? Every believer near our age whom we meet must pass through a rigorous exam. If they are a marriage possibility we can make time to talk. If not, forget it. Interest is now nil.
What happened to the family of God? No one can be themselves in a meat market. This is not what family ought to be. Not His family.
David and Jonathan. 1 Samuel. This is a picture sliver of the highest, purest love. Soul-knit love.
God Himself - Love Himself, knit their souls together, first in right relationship to Him, then to each other. They made a covenant of love to one another, and stood by one another until death. They sought the sanctification of the other above their own physical well-being. They loved purely. Soul-knit love.
Sounds like "... the two shall become one flesh," you may think?
No. Marriage speaks particularly of flesh, but 1 Samuel speaks of souls. A good marriage requires soul-knit love, yes, but the two are not necessarily linked. One can occur without the other. Unfortunately, marriages are stranded on rocks because soul-knit love is the water that floats the boat. And unfortunately, the Body of Christ finds itself broken and marred of His image because soul-knit love is our definition.
"By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
If you are soul-knit in love to one another. This is possible. In all relationships, including those involving opposite genders. Soul-knit love can exist between a man and woman distinct from a romantic or marriage relationship. Period. I am not budging; I will not.
First, because of what the Bible shows. Christ on earth knit His soul to many women. He was one of the only men in His culture to acknowledge them, let alone purely love them. Paul's soul was knit to Priscilla and Aquilla, to Lydia and to others. All without leading to marriage. In fact, Paul was one of church history's fiercest advocates of life-long singleness (1 Corinthians 7).
We are a family, brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. We need soul-knit siblings we can trust, to not take advantage of us, to not judge us, to not consider us as a marriage prospect, but simply to love. I know it is possible. I have seen it. I have felt it. I seek to live it.
Treat all believers, male or female, as equals redeemed by the Lamb's blood. Seek relationships characterized by soul-knit love. Any secondary kind of love that God desires to bless you with can only spring from that anyway. And if no secondary love ever comes - praise Him! That is a testimony to His all sufficiency, for He is Love.
Daniel, Garrett, Jeremy, Ethan, Chad, Brandon, Aaron, and others. If you're reading this, thank you. Thank you for living out His love toward your sisters - unbiased, pure, soul-knit love. The Holy One who is Love sees it, and smiles.