2 Corinthians 11:2 (ESV) — 2 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.
“I make love to Jesus every night!” I was only about 14 or 15, but these words from the pulpit by a young seminarian made me really uncomfortable. Rightly so. When I asked my Dad about it later, he said that the young man in his exuberance used a poor choice of words. But it was more than that. The unseemliness of the statement then has been perpetuated by inference, if not outright duplication by many still today.
At issue, is coming to grips with proper boundaries in the Christian experience.
With so much preaching and teaching today about how satisfied we are to be in Christ, we may have un-Biblically overstated (or perhaps misstated) the case. We may have led people to believe they can find such entire satisfaction in their experience of Christ in this life now, as to virtually remove any sense of the anticipation of Heaven.
True fulfillment and total satisfaction are not be had here and now. And even our intimacy with Christ has it’s divinely imposed limitations. Our union with Christ is at this point in time – betrothal. We are not yet “married.” We cannot borrow against the intimacies of Heaven here and now. As sweet and delightful as our walk with Him may be at present, if we are not left with a proper longing, a recognition that we cannot and should not have the fullness of that now, we actually transgress into an unseemly over-familiarity. We can pursue Christian experience that does not yet belong to us.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said that blessed are the ones who hunger and thirst after righteousness – for they WILL be filled. In time. But if we are unwilling to abide the present day of unfulfillment, we will chase experience after experience after experience – trying to get what does not belong to us now. Trying to have unalloyed happiness when we still live in a sin-cursed world. Trying to live as though upsets, difficulties, hardships and longings can all be done away with if we can just get to that experiential mountain top through some teaching or seminar.
But just as a young engaged couple are rightly to bridle themselves before the wedding night, so is the Christian now to expect that his or her intimacy with Christ will not reach its peak until His return. And to try to violate that is to live in unspiritual sensuality.
Now it is quite true that many do not take advantage of what we can properly have at present too. Many do not discourse with Him in prayer nearly enough, nor hear His voice in the Word, draw near to the throne in worship or revel in the fellowship of the saints. I’ll freely grant that. But at the same time, if you are chasing some mythical experience which you imagine will satisfy you fully while still in this fallen world and not yet resurrected – you are trying to live Heaven’s life now. And while the promise of it belongs to you, the possession of it still remains. We cannot be like the prodigal son who wanted his inheritance before the father even died. The Holy Spirit truly is the down-payment of our inheritance, but the fullness is yet to come.
Learn to live with a proper level of being unsatisfied now, that the glory of Heaven and the resurrection may draw you ever closer to the Marriage Day with increasing anticipation. Don’t try to have it all now. Believe His promises and the way He has designed our fullness to await His appearing. Get to know Him better and better through the means of grace He has appointed, but don’t try experience Heaven on earth – yet. You are not spiritually deficient because you long to know Him more. It is the reality of the now He has given us. Already betrothed, but not yet wed. Know that full satisfaction IS ahead. His promise cannot fail. But know too that there is a level of divinely appointed lack of satisfaction now. And that is how it should be. Don’t run after experiences that do not belong to you yet. Or you will be easily led astray by the satisfaction peddlers, and live perpetually frustrated instead of in joyous anticipation.