Tag Archives: Loving Jesus

Loving the Real Christ with Real Love

Spurgeon can say it better than me:

“We need Christ—not an abstract, doctrinal, pictured Christ; but a real Christ!

“I may preach to you many a year, and try to infuse into your souls a love of Christ; but until you can feel that he is a real man and a real person, really present with you, and that you may speak to him, talk to him, and tell him of your needs, you will not readily attain to a love like that of the text, so that you can call him, ‘You whom my soul loves.’

“I want you to feel, Christian, that your love to Christ is not a mere pious affection; but that as you love your wife, as you love your child, as you love your parent, so you should love Christ; that though your love to him is of a finer cast, and a higher mold, yet it is just as real as the more earthly passion.”

— Charles H. Spurgeon; Week Eight: Beholding God: Restoring Worship in Our Lives

Putting Jesus First

(Part 3 in How to Be Content and Single at the Same Time)

If you are to be satisfied in your singleness, you must put Jesus first. If Jesus is not first, if He is not your all, if your satisfaction is not wrapped up completely in Him, then you can just forget about having victorious singleness. You might as well get used to that lonely, sad place of unfulfilled longing, because without Him, it’s not going away.

Remember how I said this was going to cost you everything?

In order to put Jesus first, it really does cost everything. See Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, and Luke 9:23. You give up your whole life, you take up your cross, you deny yourself–or you cannot be His disciple. In exchange, however, He gives you His whole life, making it a pretty sweet trade.

So practically speaking, what does it look like to put Jesus first in the arena of singleness?

  • It means to take His advice over your own to the point where you trust His leading even when it means giving something (or someone!) up. 
  • It means to trust His Word, follow it, keep it, and obey it. Whatever His word says, goes.
  • It means to look to Him first as the source of contentment and satisfaction.

Can you join me in declaring that Jesus is better to you than a husband?

If you can joyfully proclaim this and know it to be true in your own soul, then it suggests that you are truly putting Jesus first.

If not, are you willing to believe that He can become that to you?

For many Christian singles, Jesus is real, but certainly not a substitute for a husband, much less better than one. But until you get to that place, you will not be fully content in your singleness. Like I said, it’s costly to get there, but oh, so worthwhile and beautiful.

So in your everyday walk, in your day-to-day life, evaluate whether Jesus is first.

  • Does He get the best hours of your time? 
  • Do you delight to be with Him? 
  • Could you spend unlimited amounts of time in His presence if you had the chance, radiant with the enjoyment of Him?
  • When you read Scripture, do you see Jesus in every page, every chapter, almost every line?
  • What would your reaction be if He suddenly disappeared from your life? Would you notice the difference? 
  • Does a girl with a crush put you to shame when you compare how much she delights in her guy with how much you delight in Jesus? 

I myself am convicted by this list. I am not as close to Him as I should be. There is always room for a deeper, more love-filled relationship with Him. But I can say that I order my life to put Him first. I take steps to reserve time with Him each day. And even the thought of Him suddenly disappearing out of my life is enough to cause me panic. (I know he will never do that. He will never leave me or forsake me. But just the “what if?” brings me a sense of the horrible darkness and misery that it would bring if it ever could happen.)

If you have not genuinely put Jesus first in your life, then don’t give a moment’s rest to your eyes until you have taken steps to die to yourself and make Him the king of your existence. If you need help to do this, try listening to this sermon. It makes a different application, but the principles for singleness are the same.

One caution: If you catch the vision for loving Jesus supremely, make sure it is for His own sake, not just as a tool to get you into a happier frame of mind regarding your singleness. Jesus is not a means to an end–HE IS the end. Delighting in Him is not a formula to get what you want–HE IS what you want. Be careful not to “use” Jesus. He is not a stepping stone to something else.

May the Lord bless your pursuit of Jesus and truly allow you to put Jesus first. May He guide your steps and grant your desires. He promises that He will fill those who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness. This is not a futile pursuit. Fix your eyes on Him by faith, and He will reveal Himself to you, flood you with His presence, dazzle you with His glory, and touch your heart with His sweetness.

How To Be Content And Single At The Same Time

[An audacious title, yes?

Who dares to believe this is even possible, let alone write a “how-to” about it?

I do.

I believe it is possible because I am living proof of it, and I dare to write a “how-to” manual because I don’t think there’s anything that special or esoteric about my contentment in my singleness. Anyone can have what I have. Why couldn’t they? And wouldn’t they be happier if they did?  So in the interest of spreading happiness to lonely singles everywhere, let’s dive in without further ado.]

The Answer in One Word

In a nutshell, the answer is Jesus. But that, left unexplained, may leave you just as much in the dark as ever, because you’ve all heard about Jesus and you’re still full of longing and sighing and the occasional bitter tear.

A Few Preliminaries

  1. This journey is going to cost you everything. Just a heads up.
  2. If you want all the beautiful, rich treasures God offers, you will have to things the way He says.
  3. There are no shortcuts. This is not a “10-step plan” or a magic formula to contentment.
  4. What we are talking about is spiritual and supernatural, not physical.
  5. The reward is well worth the cost.

Does that daunt you? Interest you? Tantalize you? Does it whet your appetite to press in, or does it turn you off and make you say, “That’s not for me”?

If you’re already saying, “That’s not for me,” let me just suggest one thought: You have nothing to lose by reading on. Just think! You have the chance to be content, satisfied, and fulfilled, even in the midst of your singleness. I bet that deep down, you really want it, even if you don’t believe it’s possible or aren’t willing to pay the cost to get it.

If, on the other hand, your heart is pounding with anticipation and you have the wild hope that here, perhaps, at last, is someone who understands you and offers you something real, then come along for the journey and discover what I have discovered.

What it looks like to be content in your singleness

  • You go through each day entirely at peace with the fact that you are single. 
  • You are free from sexual thoughts.
  • You experience no loneliness, ever.
  • Your life is full of rich, meaningful experiences.
  • You are full of overwhelming thankfulness that you are single.
  • You find in Jesus everything that you need to satisfy your heart.

In other words, being content in your singleness is basically living the impossible life.

(And I still have the audacity to write a “How To Be Content” post?)

Oh, yes, I do.

Why? Because I experience each one of the bullet points listed above. I am not lying or exaggerating to say this is my daily experience in its fullness.

If this is mine, it can be yours too.

Therefore–Onward! to the impossible life.

Continued as a series:

Part 2: The Choice and the Gift
Part 3: Putting Jesus First
Part 4: Coming Soon!

 

How is Jesus Better?

I remember a day at a job where a few of my coworkers and I were sitting around during lunch break. The conversation turned to relationships. One of the women was single, and she expressed the fact with a note of regret in her voice. Then everyone looked at me.

“Rebekah, what about you? Do you have a guy in your life?”

“Oh, I’m single,” I said, “but it’s not like I cry into my pillow every night about it.”

A twinkle came into my eye and a smile spread over my face. “In fact,” I continued, “I’m very much in love.”

“Oh, so you DO have a guy in your life?” the other ladies asked.

“Yeah,” I said. “Jesus.”

Their faces fell. The single girl made a comment to the effect that Jesus is great, but it would be “nicer to have somebody hold you in their arms once in a while.”

This wasn’t the first time that people suddenly got bored when I spoke of my love for Jesus. Why is that? Why do we listen with tantalized expectation to hear someone’s latest relationship story, but we shrug and roll our eyes when it turns out to be about Jesus? Is it because we do not believe that He is better than having “somebody to hold you in their arms”?

Because He truly is better. Anyone who has truly tasted of His presence knows that there is nothing to surpass it. The pain of singleness vanishes when Jesus comes into the picture.

So how is Jesus better than having a guy?

  • Jesus is love. All other human love is a mere shadow, a bare copy, of the pure, strong, unquenchable love of Jesus. Love and be loved by Him, know the original, and you’ll never again be able to settle for a copy. 
  • Jesus is the Creator. He made you, so He knows you intimately. He will never misunderstand you or pretend to not know what you’re on about. 
  • Jesus is All Powerful. We talk about guys being strong and buff. We admire their strength and speed and athleticism. But Jesus is stronger. He is a warrior. He vanquished the prince of this world. He is strong enough to rescue His bride.
  • Jesus is Omnipresent. A mere mortal man goes away–to work, on a business trip, to his man cave, to be alone–but Jesus never does. He is always near. He is always available. It is possible to continually dwell in His presence.
  • Jesus is Eternal. He never dies. A man dies and leaves his widow heartbroken, but we will never lose Jesus.
  • Jesus is our Provider. It can be a scary prospect to face singleness and figure out how you’re going to provide for yourself, but Jesus provides better than any husband. He makes it His NAME (Jehovah Jireh). Jesus is guaranteed to be good with money.
  • Jesus is the model authority. He is never abusive, controlling, manipulative, or bossy. He commands only what is perfectly righteous and pure, and He supplies the power to obey His commands. He wields His authority with love and faithfulness.
  • Jesus is wisdom. How many times do we look to a partner to lean on for advice? But Jesus knows the future, and the past, and the hidden details of the motivations of men’s hearts, and His counsel is perfectly reliable.

These are just  a few of the ways that Jesus surpasses a mere mortal man in satisfying our heart and meeting our needs. What other ways can you think of? Add to the list in the comments section.

Meditate on the surpassing excellencies of Christ today, and seek to know Him more intimately.