For the past seven weeks, we’ve been examining the topic of personal change. With the arrival of a New Year, everyone was talking about changing themselves or their lifestyle, so I wanted to explore what the Bible had to say about it.
I’m going to change direction now with Wednesday’s Word, but there are still many verses left to unpack in Psalm 51. If you want to continue learning, you can pick up a copy of my devotional, Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy.
Romance With Jesus
Valentine’s Day is all about the romance. Florists, jewelers, chocolatiers, and restauranteurs cashed in this weekend after persuading you that the only way to appropriately express your love for your significant other is with flowers, candy, diamonds, and a fancy dinner!
I buy into the hype. I love Valentine's Day. I love to love Luella with gifts and surprises. Yet every time this holiday comes around, I can't help but think of my relationship with Jesus. Why? Because I'm deeply persuaded that my faith needs to be driven by intimate, romantic attraction.
The words intimacy and romance sound odd in the context of Christianity, but that's just because of the way our culture uses them. When you examine their definition, it actually makes sense. Here's a definition I like to use for romance - "an ardent emotional involvement; a fascination or enthusiasm for someone." Intimacy simply means "familiarity or closeness."
Think about it. God created human beings to live in close relationship with him, and our lives were meant to be shaped by a fascination and enthusiasm for who God is. This intimate, romantic attraction would fuel everything we desired, thought, said and did.
We know that sin ruined the original design, but we're still meant to be madly in love with Christ today. He is meant to be the One that occupies our minds and fills our hearts. He is meant to be what excites us and brings us joy. Just like we aim to do with our significant other on Valentine's Day, Jesus is the One whom we are living to please.
I'm concerned for many of us, though, because Christianity has the tendency to be defined by other things. Too often, our Christianity is defined by an unwavering commitment to biblical theology. Too often, our Christianity is defined by the moral and political issues we fight for. Too often, our Christianity is defined by the amount of ministry and charity we participate in.
Don't get me wrong: theology, morality, and ministry are very important things. But those shouldn't define who a Christian is. What should define a Christian is their romantic, intimate, and enthusiastic pursuit of a Person - the Lord Jesus.
This one central romance - being madly in love with Christ - will give motivation and direction to every other good thing that defines your life as a Christian.
I would encourage you today, as Valentine's Day fades away, to get intimate with Jesus. Meditate on His beauty. Focus on His glory. Bask in His grace. Fall in love again with your Savior.
Paul David Tripp
- When and why did you first fall in love with Jesus?
- In what ways has your original love for Christ faded? How can you rekindle that flame?
- In what ways has a new love for Christ developed? How has that deepened your relationship?
- What Christian activity or idea may be replacing your intimate romance with the Lord?
- What can you do with your schedule that will help deepen your relationship with Christ?