The lesson of this past week’s summer school studies started out strong on Monday. There was a strong emphasis on priorities, namely, remembering Jesus. I am one who is very quick to name drop His name throughout my conversation and in my writing, but on Monday I was forced to ponder how deeply I am allowing Him to influence me as an individual. One of my favorite self-made quotes is, “Jesus Is Realer.” He is “realer” than anything connected to this world, I like to say. But how do I know that I really believe that? Do my actions support my words?
One of the hardest parts about my fiance’s absence is how it makes our relationship more intangible. I know it is there, but I don’t have his physical presence to support it. Instead, I need to rely on the memories we have made together and the words he has shared with me, both written and spoken, to remind me that he is real. Then I need to make sure that my life reflects the commitment we have with one another. I need to live in such a way that I, and those around me, recognize that I am joyfully connected to this wonderful man. The same is true for my relationship with Jesus; it is not an entirely tangible one. I must rely on His written words in the Bible, as well as His discreet involvement in my daily routine, to remind me of my commitment to Him. I want to live in such a way that the observing world will have no doubt that He is real to me. How do I do that?
This week I was taught 3 specific ways to live my love for Jesus:
1. Reflect on the character of Jesus. Charles Spurgeon once said, “It seemed as if hell were put into His cup; He seized it, and at one tremendous draught of love, he drank damnation dry.” That is an awesome love! The deeper I reflect on who Jesus is, what He did, and how He loves I can only fall deeper in love with Him.
2. Respond to the love of Jesus. A signature of love is that when one has it for someone else, one desires to show it to that person. The more I love my fiance, the more I want to assure him of my love. The same is true for the love I have for my Savior. I want Him to know that I love Him! I can do that by dedicating this summer to Him. He has gifted me with this one-on-one summer with Him. I want every action I perform, every word I speak, and every thought I think to be dedicated to Jesus. As I view my summer from this perspective it becomes a summer of glorious todays, rather than endless tedium. All of life should be viewed from such a positive angle.
3. Receive the presence of Jesus. One of the most wonderful qualities of Jesus is that His presence becomes tangible as one focuses on others. I have found that one of the best ways to love Him is to sincerely care for others. Loving Him first enables me to love other people in the way I desire to love them: listening, serving, caring, etc. The more real Jesus becomes to me, the more I truly see, hear, and love the people around me. I also need to give Him time to become real to me. In those moments when I am sad or lonely I am learning to wait confidently for His comfort to descend on me versus quickly running to another person to do so. And His comfort does come, in His time.
As in every other relationship, depth matters in our walk with God. The shallows are fine if one wants to merely play in the sea; however, if one wishes to sail the high seas it requires strength, determination, and deep water. All of which require the sacrificing of comfort and familiarity. I know that I want to be radiantly in love with Jesus Christ when I walk down the aisle to meet my bridegroom and that will require this summer of sacrifice. I am willing because I want them both to know I love them.