I was working with Bean one day and we had taken a break to go and get some lunch. There’s a great little Asian restaurant where we like to eat when we work in Morristown, TN. We ran into a friend that particular day, and we got into a conversation about Christ and His church. We began to talk about Christ being the Groom and The Church as His bride and our friend said, “That’s just weird to me.” Later that day I sat down to ponder why that was strange. The truth is that our friend had a point. It is weird to think of being The “Bride” of Christ. Furthermore, as a man, it can be awkward to say things like, “I’m in love with Jesus” or anything that has intimate vocabulary attached to it when thinking of another man…even if that man is Jesus. The fact is that our enemy has done a good job in veiling what love really is by diverting our attention to the physical and emotional things of this world instead of focusing on the spiritual reality of the true meaning of things. This became clearer to me when I read this passage of scripture one day.
2 CORINTHIANS 5:11-21
11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.16 FROM NOW ON, THEREFORE, WE REGARD NO ONE ACCORDING TO THE FLESH. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
I’d like to point out verse 16. (Since this is a short devotional we won’t delve into everything in that incredible passage of scripture.) But look at verse 16, which says, “FROM NOW ON, THEREFORE, WE REGARD NO ONE ACCORDING TO THE FLESH…” One reason it seems strange to assign affectionate terms to Jesus Christ is because we are still viewing Him as a man and we are still misunderstanding what true love really is. There is a pure love that flows from the heart of God. There is a purer understanding that has nothing at all to do with any kind of sexual assignment or physicality. Remember 1 JOHN 4:8 teaches us that GOD IS LOVE and JOHN 4:24 teaches us that GOD IS SPIRIT. Therefore true love can not always be seen or touched. We have misinterpreted real love and assigned physical thoughts and attributes to it thanks to our sinful, fleshly minds. Love is much purer and much more than any physical relationship. God’s love transcends things like sex and physical desire. The love we will have for each other in our perfected spiritual state will be more gratifying spiritually than any physical experience that you could ever have here on this earth. I think of the love relationship between Jesus and His Father. Christ never wanted to be separated from His father because there was a love relationship between them that went well beyond what our human minds can fathom (the main reason why he wanted “this cup to pass” from Him LUKE 22:42). He did not want to be separated from that love, not even for a moment. However, because of His great love towards us, He subjected Himself to the greatest pain of all time, which is separation from God. Our love towards friends and family and people in general can be so much more if we will begin seeing from a spiritual perspective, which can only be achieved if you know and are known by Jesus Christ. In Him there is a better understanding of true love. Therefore when a man says, “I’m in love with Jesus” it can be less “weird” if we better understand the purity of what is really being stated. Purity. Love. Have you ever seen a husband take care of his sick and ailing wife? Have you ever seen a son or daughter care for their terminally ill parents? Love is about the purity of sacrifice and choosing each day to love again no matter how you feel. I know we’re just touching the surface of this subject, but I hope we can use it to motivate ourselves to think about love in a clearer, purer manner.
Maybe it’s time to ask yourself that question. Are you in love with Jesus Christ? It’s a question we should all ask ourselves. One thing I can tell you. He is in love with you.
by Jackson Bailey