[Papercut Press Publishing]  1998-02-23 - Getting Close to Jesus

Pursue love... 1 Corinthians 14:1

Voyager 1, launched in 1977, is now 6.5 billion miles from earth. Reportedly, the spacecraft is now on the edge of the solar system. What if someone had gone up with Voyager and was now on the edge of the solar system? Would they be any closer to Christ? Of course not. Closeness to Christ has nothing to do with time or space. Getting close to Christ is something we do as we grow in the knowledge and grace of Christ. Getting close to Christ can principally be seen as we learn to love Christ more and depend on Him for all our needs, hopes, fears, and desires.

Loving Christ has been called the A, B, C of the Christian faith. We fall short of this love when we love the world, like Demus (2 Tim. 4:10), or pleasure, like Belsharzzer (Daniel 5:1-4), or riches, like the young man in the gospel. The rich young man thought he loved God. He even identified himself by saying, All these things I have kept from my youth up (Matt. 19:20). Christ knew that he loved his riches more than he loved God. This is why Christ told him to sell what he had to gain treasure in heaven. The man went away sad, not because he understood that his love was insufficient, but because he had to part with his goods to inherit life. To love Christ is to rise above such temptations.

Love of the world will always choke out love to Christ. When we begin to love the Lord in the sincerity of our hearts, then, and never until then, will the love of the world fall from us as the walls of Jericho fell in Joshua 6. To love Christ is to offer Him a more precious gift than the gifts that the wise men brought Christ at His birth.

There are many instances in the biographies of saints that speak of special seasons and experiences of the love of Christ being expressed to them. One such instance is from the life of Presbyterian minister John Flavel. Flavel was a quiet, temperate man who was not given to much fanaticism. He was on a journey alone, on horseback, and the thought of the love of Christ came upon him with great power. As he rode on the thought continued to increase in force and strength until, he says, he forget about earth or even where he was.

When he came to himself, his horse was standing still and there was a passer-by staring at him. He found that he was bleeding rather badly from facial wounds. He said, "I did verily think as I stood there, that if I was not in heaven I could hardly hope to be more blessed in heaven than I was then." He rode on to the place where he was to stay, supper was brought to him, but left uneaten. He spent the entire night sitting and enjoying the presence of Christ, later saying, "I was more rested that night than with any sleep I ever had, and I heard and saw in my soul, by faith, such things as I had never known before." May we draw close to Christ and experience His love to us and love Him in return.

Soli Deo Gloria,
Tim