Have You Ever Heard of Such a Thing?
Do you ever just sit with Jesus? Draw near to Him and enjoy His presence? Do you ever let His love and very Being fill your heart and mind? Do you love and desire Jesus with the love and eager anticipation young lovers do? Does your heart and soul yearn for Him? Do you even know relationship with Him like this is possible?
“You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” –Psalm 16:11
Look at the words the psalmist uses: pleasure, joy, forevermore, fullness.
“O God, You are my God, earnestly will I seek You; my inner self thirsts for You, my flesh longs and is faint for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” –Psalm 63:1
My flesh longs and is faint for You. That speaks of intense desire and longing for God.
“I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise You.” –Psalm 63:5
Fully satisfied. Have you ever been fully satisfied by the presence of the Lord? Do you long for Him and Him alone? Does Jesus satisfy your soul?
Goiania, Brazil. September, 2017:
It was a night I will never forget. After three and a half months of living and working in a women’s rehab, my adventure abroad was coming to a close. I remember it so clearly. It was 1:30 in the morning and I couldn’t get to sleep. I decided to spend time with Jesus. To just be with Him. I said, “Ok Jesus. Let’s hang out.” I began thanking Him for everything He had done in me and through me that summer. As I saw all the miraculous ways God had been moving in my life, my heart overflowed with joy and gratitude. I surrendered to Him and said, “I’ll do anything You ask.” Jesus drew so near to me that night. My whole body, heart and mind were flooded. The feeling was indescribable. Just so…good. I wanted to stay in that place with Jesus forever. I always wanted to feel that love, joy, peace, happiness, and overflow. I was bursting and beaming with light and life. The next day I journaled:
“God You are so close. An intimacy I have never discovered with You before. You love me so much. And have good plans for me. You will guide my steps. I just follow You. To amazing places. I hear You asking me to quit my job. To freefall and trust You. I trust You Lord. I will go on this adventure with You.
Last night lying in bed before sleep, I felt You so close and near. I thought the only other feeling that comes close to this is being in love. You are love! You are romantic! And You are with me always. There is no other feeling like this in the world. This intimacy with You is like I have never experienced. God, I want more. I want to go deeper. I want as much intimacy as humanly possible. I don’t want to settle for the things of this world.”
I ended up quitting my job. And it was the best decision I have ever made. I never regret trusting Jesus. I always regret doubting Him. There truly is nothing like being in love with the Author of romance Himself. Solomon asked for wisdom and ended in folly. I want intimacy. If all wisdom and knowledge is hidden in Christ (Col 2:3), then if I have intimacy with Jesus, I will be wise.
I want to broach the subject of relationship. I have come to realize that many young singles struggle with desire, loneliness, and longing for relationship. As someone who experienced wrong relationship, I never fully understood this. When I came to Christ I found life, and no relationship compared. To be honest, I actually feared relationship. I was living a Jesus fairy tale and I was afraid a man would come and stomp all over everything, ruining my princess castle. Jesus was my everything. I experienced love like I never had before. No man could offer me what Jesus did. And still no man can.
Romance with Jesus is paramount to the success of your marriage and life. It’s actually why you were created. Your primary purpose is relationship with the one, true, and living God. As I grow and go deeper into relationship with God, I have asked, “Do people even know this is possible? Do they know that relationship with You like this even exists?” Relationship so good and so satisfying. Jesus satisfies every need and fills every longing. There is something that happens in a heart communing with God. A connection so deep and so true, it changes you. You know you’re loved. You know you are valuable. In those moments of intimacy with Jesus there is nothing else in all creation that matters. When your heart connects with God’s heart there is life, peace, freedom, and joy. Hope and love everlasting. Do you know that this exists? Have you ever experienced this intimacy with Jesus? Because it is available to you. He offers Himself.
Growing up in the church, I didn’t know. I heard all the words and had all the knowledge, but no experience. I knew about Jesus without actually knowing Him. I dated Him without ever making the marital commitment.
The reason our relationship with Christ is compared to one of marriage is because marriage is the highest level of intimacy we can possibly fathom on this earth. We long to love and be loved, to know and be known in a marital relationship. However, our relationship with Jesus is actually supposed to surpass that of a marital relationship in love, intimacy, desire, passion, and all the rest. Our relationship with Jesus is to be all consuming.
“And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call Me ‘My Husband’…I will betroth you to Me forever. I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.” –Hosea 2:16a,19-20
Every little girl dreams of her wedding day (all the way into adulthood until that day arrives). There is a deep longing set in the bottom of her heart to be wanted, sought after, and fought for. To be the beauty of a story and capture the love and affection of a man’s heart. The truth is, Jesus offers you this love. He offers you this romance. He set His affection on you and moved heaven and earth to make a way to be with you (Deut. 7:7). He desires you to be with Him. That’s why He came and paid such a high price for you, because He loves you.
“For your Maker is your Husband—the Lord Almighty is His name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth.” –Isaiah 54:5
Look at the language of marriage vows. They are earnest and sincere, and all have one thing in common: In every situation. You make the commitment no matter what circumstances befall you. Have you ever made that commitment? Have you ever truly pledged yourself to Jesus and received the deposit of His Holy Spirit guaranteeing what is to come? Not have you planned on doing it. Have you ever actually given your life to Christ and committed to love and submit to Him forever?
“I, , take thee, Jesus, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do
us part we meet face to face, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith [or] pledge myself to You.”
If you have never made this type of commitment, I encourage you to do so now. God is present in this moment. He sees you—your heart and your life. Tell Him sincerely you want to give up control and surrender your all to Him. Tell Him you are sorry for your sin, and you trust in His power and His finished work on the Cross to save you. Tell Him anything else you feel led to share with Him. Tell Him the truth. God can’t be deceived.
If you think you’ve made this type of commitment but are unsure, then you probably haven’t. When you have, you’ll know it. God wants more than just our words of commitment, He wants our hearts which prove out in our actions. Imagine if a man said to a woman, “I want to marry you,” but then never spent any time with her, or never set a wedding date, or even started seeing other women. It would be clear from the man’s actions that he didn’t really want to marry the woman, even though he may have thought he wanted to when he said it. The same is true with God, if we really want Him, our actions will bear witness accordingly.
If you have made this commitment, but your relationship is not where it needs to be, renew your vows. “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.” –Revelation 2:4-5a
What were the things you did at first? Look back on it and remember. Worship. Praise. Adore. Be filled with thanksgiving and gratitude in your heart to Jesus for saving you and what He had done for you. Remember the joy, the feeling of being clean and made new in the Spirit? Free from the burden of sin. It felt so good and you felt so light. You couldn’t help but share with others what Jesus had done for you. Go back to the beginning. Return to your First Love.
For anyone who wants deeper intimacy with Jesus:
Set aside time to date Jesus. One-on-one time for just you and Him. We cultivate intimacy in the natural with alone time, why not with God? He has things He wants to speak specifically just to you. Give God the time of day to do this, and give Him your heart in that time. This may look different for everyone, but for me, that looks like walks alone with Him, where I speak to Him about the matters of my heart and seek to hear His voice. It looks like candles lit with piano hymns in the background where I sit Thinking and Thanking: thinking about all God has done in my life and thanking Him for it. It looks like private worship dance parties at home where I put my headphones in and worship the Lord unashamed with my whole body. It looks like giving God the first fruits of my day and seeking Him in the morning before getting on my phone. It looks like sitting and watching the birds with a morning coffee, just being in and enjoying His presence. It looks like seeking HIM, instead of what He can give you. You know how to do this in the natural with human relationships, do this in your relationship with God.
The Key To A Successful Marriage Relationship
I have a theory about relationship. I believe that as you fall deeply, madly, and truly in love with Jesus, as you chase after Him as hard and as fast as you can with every fiber in your being, He brings someone (who is matched perfectly by the way) alongside you to run your race with. Too many people make marriage and family the adventure. Jesus is the adventure, marriage and family are just mile markers along the way. Jesus is the prize. Jesus is the reward. Jesus is the end goal.
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 3:14
In this theory, I see relationship as a triangle. A triangle is the most geometrically sound shape there is. It can withstand the most pressure while maintaining its structure. As a man and a woman each seek God, He brings them together on the bottom, and the relationship is built on a firm foundation. But if a man and a woman seek each other first, or in greater proportion than they seek God, the triangle is upside down and the relationship is literally built on no foundation at all. It topples over. And instead of submitting to, and allowing God to flip the triangle and do reconstruction on the relationship, all too often, man and woman try to balance the toppling triangle and hold it up themselves; refusing to put God first, resulting in broken relationship, broken hearts, and broken lives.
I remember a time in the early stages of my relationship with my now husband, when I feared a significant romantic moment was being stolen from me. (I was wanting him to ask me to be his girlfriend, and not just fall into relationship together). I complained to Jesus, “I don’t want this moment stolen. I want a lifelong romance.” God said, “You have one. It’s with Me.” Immediately I felt convicted. Tears welled up in my eyes. Jesus is the lover of my soul, the One who truly satisfies. When I am filled by Him and His love, I am able to love my husband and others from that place. Marriage is 100% give—100% give. If both parties come ready to give, there is enough to go around. If it’s 50% give—50% take, what happens on the days when you’re both taking? There isn’t enough. The only way it is possible for a marriage to succeed is if both people are surrendered to Jesus, letting Him fill them, and love through them.
Part of the curse for Eve was that her desire would be for her husband. “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16. She now desires relationship with man over relationship with God. Satan uses this to tempt women with lies like, “When I’m in a relationship that’s when life will begin.” “I’ll believe I’m valuable and loveable when a man says I am.” “I want to be wanted.” “I just want to be held.” “I have baby fever, I really want kids.” “I’ll be satisfied or content when…relationship, kids, family, etc.” The truth is, if you aren’t satisfied in your life with Jesus now, if He isn’t your everything and enough now, you most definitely won’t be content then. The grass is always greener on the other side. If marriage and kids are so great, why do over half of them end in divorce? Marriage is not the answer. Relationship with another human being is not the answer. Relationship with Jesus is. Seek the Creator, not the created. Desire Him. Love Him. Want Him. Spend time with Him. He will satisfy you. He will romance you, love you, and sweep you off your feet if you let Him. Will you let Him?
“How priceless is Your unfailing love, O God!” –Psalm 36:7
A challenge to those who are single:
If you are married to Jesus, united to Him in spirit (1 Cor. 6:17) are you really single? If you’ve taken the vows of for better or for worse, don’t you belong to Him? Aren’t you His bride? And as His bride, how can you really be single? This thing with being the Bride of Christ is so much deeper than we often comprehend. Paul said in Ephesians 5 that it is a profound mystery, talking about Christ and the Church.
If you are truly united to the Lord in spirit, you are not single. You are not your own, you were bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:20). Your life doesn’t belong to you anymore. It belongs to Jesus. Do you realize that this is what marriage is? You are giving yourself to someone else. No longer living unto yourself, but living to love and serve someone else. Do you realize that marriage is denying yourself and loving someone else? Love is selfless you see. It’s putting someone else, and their desires above your own. While marriage is a huge benefit and blessing if both parties are committed to loving the other with the heart of God and being submitted to Him, it is also a great responsibility. God is entrusting you with the care of another heart and soul.
If you are married to Jesus, what does your marriage look like? Are you like a young couple in love and can’t wait to be near your lover? Or, are you more stoic and austere? Amiable, but it’s business as usual—making sure all the chores are done and things are in order, but there’s no romance. Or, is there a coldness and distance between you. You live in the same house, but never see each other. You think you are fulfilling your marital duties, but somewhere you have another lover on the side. See, that last one isn’t really an option with God. Most people would say that isn’t a real marriage, and there is no faking it with God. He detests other lovers and requires purity of heart.
“These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.” –Matthew 15:8
What would it take for your relationship with Jesus to look like that of the young lovers? Where you are constantly yearning to be with Him, near to Him and hearing His heart and mind? What would it take for your relationship to be in a place where you say, “How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” –Psalm 139:17
The key to finding and having a successful relationship is finding and having Jesus. While you wait for the benefits and blessings of marriage, will you enter into and enjoy the one you have now? With Jesus? In heaven there is no marriage. Jesus is your Husband.
Is He enough for you?
“Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.” –Psalm 63:3