Love is Permanent

"Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm" SOS 8:6

The Principle of Permanence

*Note: This post refers to Scripture verses found in the Old Testament book, Song of Solomon. In order to better understand what I’m talking about, it’s helpful to read these verses along with the text bollow.

While the Shulamite’s love and affections fluctuated with each encounter and each circumstance, the King’s love for her continued through those same things and emerged unchanged. All his heart was fixed on her and was not the slightest bit removed by her (1) self-pity, (2) indifference, (3) anxiety, (4) possessiveness, (5) neglect, or (6) lapsed passion. After every single struggle on her part he comes back with praise and an unwavering desire to be with her and to have her in his presence [1].

 

If you subsituted my name for “Shulamite” and JESUS for “the King” you would have a spot-on picture of my relationship with Christ:

My love and affections for Him fluctuate with each encounter and each circumstance of my life. Meanwhile, Christ Jesus’ love for me continues through those same things and emerge unchanged. As a matter of fact, one of the attributes of Christ as God is immutability: being unchanging over time or unable to be changed. God is both, so Jesus Christ is both. It is against His nature to change in purpose, character, desire, etc. All my life His heart has been fixed on me and has been not the slightest bit moved by my self-pity, my indifference, and the many other attitudes that the unsettled heart tends toward. After every struggle on my part, He comes back with praise and that unwavering desire to be with me, to have me in His presence.

Most stunning to me is that nothing I do can end my salvation, reverse my redemption, or reduce His desire and love toward me. I thought otherwise for years, and the lie comes back, but Jesus Christ proves it’s not so.

Scripture addresses from Song of Solomon

(1) Chap. 1: verse 5-6  & 1: verse 15 – 2, verse 2

(2) Chap. 2: verses 10, 14, and 17

(3) Chap. 3: verse 1-2 and 4

(4) Chap. 2: verse 16  & 3: verse 4

(5) Chap. 5: verse 2-8  & 6: verse 4-10

(6) Throughout the book

[1] Chap. 4: verses 1-5, 7, and 9-11

 

 

 

 

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What Love is….

As this week started off with preparations for Valentine’s Day, I thought it fitting to wrap-up the whole month of February with a theme, much in the way one wraps a simple gift or a special note in some strong yet thoughtful ribbon. And what more appropriate theme could we reflect on than that of Love?

Now, when I refer to Love (notice the capital “L”) this by no means represents the temporary, superficial, undetermined, or impetuous notions of such a feeling. What I mean to touch on is that incredible, authentic sensation of being cared for in full knowledge of your deserving or undeserving condition. While there are many books and articles, “experts” and individuals on whom I might rely to understand such a concept, an ancient scroll of love letters in poetry form proves itself a faithful and honest source.

The Song of Solomon can be found in any faithful edition of the Old Testament, right after a rather depressing book titled, Ecclesiates. What you’ll read there, if you can make your way through the Hebrew poetical form and pastoral imagery, is a touching story of a simple girl who is loved by a young king, the gradual transformation of her feelings and self-perception, and the steadfastness of her Beloved.

 

Now guys, don’t check out at this point. With a deeper grasp of this story, you may better understand what it means for a young woman to be truly loved. And for yourself, here is a godly standard for measuring your treatment of women, your behavior in a relationship, and your control of sexual desires against. Be challenged; be inspired!

If the intro to this next series hasn’t frightened you away, I look forward to sharing what Song of Solomon has taught me and what it can teach you… if you’re willing to learn.

Blessings from the writer~

“Set your mind on things above…”

Colossians 3:2 challenges each of us as believers, everyday, with the words,

“Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.”

What, exactly, does this mean – practically speaking? Well, I’m not a Greek scholar (yet), but with an avid appetite for the English language in written form particularly, this is how it broke down for me.

 

To set: “to place; to lay down; to put something in position (e.g. in preparation for something) ~ set the table for company ~ set the runner’s block ~ set the clock ahead/back ~ set down a burden.

“On things above” – when I set a jar of tea or rice or flour or whatever on a shelf, it doesn’t depend on me for support once it has left my hands. I cease to be the force sustaining it, meaning I do not prevent it from coming to ruin (aka, yielding to gravity). It is entirely, totally up to the structure of the shelf to support the weight of that object. Depending on the integrity of the shelf, I feel safe trusting it… or I don’t. Would I trust something like my grandmother’s heirloom button jar to a rickedy, broken, bug-eaten shelf or some ledge too narrow to fully support it? No, definitely not. But would I look at a smooth, broad shelf with braces and brackets, screwed into the studs of the wall, even edged with a lip to keep objects from possibly falling off and say, “I can’t trust that. What if it fails?”

Yet some people do just that, even people living in the Church.

Honestly? It takes faith to leave whatever you’re carrying around on the shelf, to trust and let the weight slip out of your hands. Is it easy? Not really. Will it ever be? I’ll answer that with another question: When you really trust the One taking that burden from you, are you even afraid? Or are you relieved? Here’s the thing – “set” objects don’t dangle or teeter or roll. They sit, safely waiting to be put to use, or put to rest. The strangest thing is to see people who are desperate for something to lean on or somewhere to rest their burdens standing next to the Rock of Ages and unwilling to set anything on Him. The saddest thing is to see is believers, people living the Christian life of Christ, also clutching those jars and bottles, boxes and knapsacks and stones but never yielding them to rest on Christ.

Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” For those who want to argue that Christianity is complicated, I’d

like to ask them how many hoops they think that little verse is asking people to jump through. A friend once explained to me that in order to lean on anything, you have to put weight against it. The more you trust a structure for support, the more weight you put on it and – in a sense – the more value you place upon it. I say “you”, but this applies to me and anybody else. (Notice how I’m not afraid to use “absolute language”. My English teacher would be upset, but there’s no reason to impair the truth.) The trouble comes when my pillar, my frame of reference, my mountain shifts or crumbles, leaving me on my face, bruised and shaken up. Was it the mountain’s fault for changing on me? No, not when I choose to entrust it with the weight of my life. Besides, it’s a mountain. What does it care that my life falls apart when it moves? There’s no promise that a mountain can hold up to stress and time forever.

So, what are you leaning on for support? Can it hold you up? Indefinately?

"Colorado Mountain

"What do you lean on?"