Psalm 73:25 delivers a piercing soul cry. In The Passion Translation is reads like this: Who is there in heaven for me but you! You’re all I want! As long as I have you, life on earth has nothing more I desire.
The NRSV this way: Whom have I in heaven by you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than you.
And The Message says it this way: You’re all I want in heaven! You’re all I want on earth!
The Taste of Cotton
At home we have what I call the Whack Wall. It’s a wall in the Homeschool and Art Room that anyone can write on. We paint on it, we write using sharpies, and usually it’s scripture or art that has inspired us to turn our focus from Earth to Heaven.
I was writing on the wall one evening this very scripture and it seemed as if everything in the entire earth had begun to make sense. There’s NOTHING on earth I desire besides YOU, I was praying. My heart was alive and burning within me. Revelation had taken firm hold: this Earth with all its splendor and majesty tastes like cotton. Dry, fibrous cotton that’s impossible to swallow down without choking.
There are great things about Earth. Family, friends, the Church…to name a few. Who doesn’t love a good glass of wine or an exciting party? How about vacation and flying and learning new things? These things are good. Enjoying any of them is a form of worship all in and of themselves. But desire…this desire for something whole and true and rock-solid…that’s something else all together.
Desire for the greater things, the better things, desire for Jesus is far greater. Don’t get me wrong. You’re not less spiritual enjoying a glass of Malbec than you are with a Bible open across your lap meditating on the Wine of the Spirit. It all counts as joy and worship, but the real wanting, the true satsifaction of the soul can be found in Christ alone.
Holy Priesthood, the Very Sons of God
I feel God has called the Church to the priesthood. So much so, in fact, that when we had a Halloween party on Friday night I went dressed as a priest in real clerical clothing. Prophetically I was accepting what I heard in my spirit: we are a holy priesthood, we are the very sons (and daughters) of God.
This is a setting apart for the people of God. I sense that God is shepherding us to a place of purity and washing not unlike the kind of washing Esther went through before she met the king. God is calling his lover, the bride, aside and offering her a chance to be lost in the cloud-filled chamber, the very house of wine to meditate on his grace and experience over and over his romantic and kind love.
This is not work either. I’m not preaching a clean-yourself-up gospel here. There is nothing you can do to make yourself pure for an encounter with God. Esther’s cleansing is a prophetic view of how Christ was going to clean up Mother Church in order to bring her into glory.
I’m not coming anywhere close to asking you to spiritually cleanse your house or fix yourself up so you’re ready for Jesus.
You died with Christ and he pulled you up from death with him (Romans 5-8). You were cleansed from the very beginning. You are a holy priesthood and the bride of Christ! He washed you and set you apart. What I’m encouraging you to do here is to meditate on who you are in the blessed Lover. You are clean and pure and washed! You are the favored of God!
Set your mind on things above, where Christ is because you died with Christ and your life is now hidden with him in God! (Colossians 3:1-2)
Assess your desires. Is Christ your only affection? Your only desire? Is it he who can truly make your heart sing? Are you able to fathom another lover?
If you’re married or wanting to be married, I’m not suggesting you love your spouse less. Same if you have children or pets or really really love chocolate. Remember: enjoying the pleasures of Earth within a Biblical context is holy and right and worship.
But assess your desires. Can you live a Psalm 73:25 lifestyle? This isn’t asked in some pious way. I’m not accusing you of not loving God rightly or even proposing that I’ve figured it out. We’re all in this together and there is no condemnation. This journey with the Lover, the Christ is a personal one. We’re all figuring it out together as a church. God delights in our process. He delights in our searching and when we set our affection on him if even only for a moment.
Brother Lawrence in Practicing His Presence, the monk from the 1600s discovered this concept. He writes that he would turn his affections on the Lord for only a moment and then fail the rest of the day. But he didn’t feel condemned. Rather, he writes that he felt encompassed and embraced by God in his failure and it was in that embrace that led him to be able to keep the Lord before his eyes every moment of each day!
God is kind and will honor the process of setting your affection on him!
I’ll leave you with a great song by Misty Edwards this week. Enjoy HIM!