When I first met my wife-to-be, something strange happened to me. All of my
former priorities-work-related, material-related, interest-related-all became
trivial. I hungered for her presence and would count the hours, minutes and even
the seconds until we would be together again. My heart was filled with joy, and
I could tackle any task with a smile on my face. Her face would be constantly in
my thoughts, and I often wondered how such a wonderful creature could fall in
love with me. I was the luckiest guy in this world!
At least that's what I thought. Now I know better.
No. I don't mean that negatively. My wife is still the most wonderful creature on this planet. I just know now that it is Jesus who made this relationship possible!
It is true that we gave each other little presents, but it was never these tokens of appreciation that made us hunger to be with one another. To be honest, I don't even remember what those were! On the day I proposed to her and gave her a promise of engagement, she didn't say:
"Can I get back to you? I want to check out this gift to see if it's real gold."
Nor did she answer with:
"If I marry you, will I get me more presents like these on a regular basis?"
In fact she ignored the gift at first, for her eyes were looking directly into mine. My heart skipped a few beats and my legs turned to mush. It was a good thing I was sitting down! I almost fainted when I heard her say "yes". Could this be? This wonderful creature was going to become my wife? I could hardly contain myself. Only then did she even look at the gift.
I now realize, after more than two decades of marriage, that whenever I let possessions, interests, hobbies or work take priority in my life, my relationship with my wife turns sour. Only by continuing to savour her presence, only by hungering to be with her, can I remain happy. If I spend too much attention on anything else, it only serves to destroy our happiness.
I have also learned that my relationship with Jesus is the same. Whenever my focus strays from Him, not only do I feel it in my relationship with my Maker, but also in my own level of satisfaction. We can never be completely satisfied with anything but Jesus. Anything else will never be satisfactory, and we will always want more. Only Jesus can fulfill all of our needs and wants.
Oh, and one really neat thing about Jesus: We are never apart! He lives in our heart!
We are not in love with Jesus because of the many gifts and answered prayers He bestows on us. We are in love with Him because He first loved us! If His gifts become more important to us than His relationship, then we face an upcoming shipwreck of faith. Only our relationship with Him can keep our hearts overflowing with utter happiness and inner peace. Only then can we identify with Job and Habakuk: "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him." (Job 13:15 NIV); "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior." (Hab 3:17-18 NIV)
Friends, only Jesus can fill the void in our hearts!
The following texts always used to puzzle me. I always assumed that these were my guarantee to wealth, prosperity and a ranch in Montana. Now I know differently:
"And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father." (John 14:13-14 NIV)
"You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." (John 14:14 NIV)
"The Father will give you whatever you ask in my name." (John 15:16 NIV)
"I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. (John 16:23-24 NIV)
"Anything Lord? Did you really mean that? If yes, I want… and…and…"
I didn't realize that the most ardent desires of life are all fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. Nothing can replace Him. A ranch in Montana would be great, but what good would it be for me if I lived on a luxurious farm without the presence of my Maker? Hungering for Jesus only because of His gifts will never satisfy anyone! Only when He becomes real to us will His presence be our only desire and satisfaction. Only when we realize how much we mean to Him will our personal priorities grow dim as His presence fills us.
The greatest treasure anyone can possess is the indwelling presence of Jesus: "This is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us: by the Spirit he gave us." (1 John 3:24 The Message)
Forget the gifts! Go for His presence in your life.
The Illustrator: This daily newsletter is dedicated to encouraging everyone to look towards Jesus as the source of all the solutions to our problems. It contains a daily inspirational story, a Bible verse and encouraging messages. HTML and plain text versions available.
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