Well, it happened. The calendar flipped from January to February, and all of a sudden everyone has love on the brain. Including me. I hope you'll forgive me for going there, but after spending the past month diving deep into 'the how' of cultivating faithfulness through the spiritual disciplines, I thought it would be good to start this month talking about 'the why.'
Reading your Bible, spending time in prayer, and participating in the fellowship of the church are all good things, but they must be accompanied by a deep and abiding desire to know Jesus more deeply and love him more fully than we have before. Why? Because his love is better than life itself.
Do you believe it's true? That God's love is better than life? It's the kind of thing that's easy to believe when life goes sideways, because there really are situations when life on earth is so bad that to die and be with Jesus would be a mercy.
But what about when the opposite is true? When everything is going great? Is God's love better than your wildest dreams coming true?
David certainly thought so, and he, of all people would know. If anyone has experienced both devastatingly low lows and dizzyingly high highs, it's him. David knew what it was to be hunted and betrayed not just by his enemies, but also by his own flesh and blood. It can't get much worse than that. But he also knew what it was to be a hero and a king, revered far and wide. It doesn't get much better than that.
But listen to what he writes in Psalm 63.
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
But those who seek to destroy my life
shall go down into the depths of the earth;
they shall be given over to the power of the sword;
they shall be a portion for jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God;
all who swear by him shall exult,
for the mouths of liars will be stopped. (ESV)
I want a relationship with the Lord that looks like that. David wasn't perfect. He made his fair share of mistakes. Some of them big ones. But he knew the Lord. He longed for him. He thirsted for him and felt faint without him. And he knew that the Lord's love was better than anything that this life has to offer. He would know. Because he had it all. And having had it all, David proclaimed that he would give it all up for the sake of knowing God and experiencing his love.
God's love is better than all the other things that we look to for satisfaction.
Better than money. Better than marriage. Better than sex. Better than friendship. Better than a job promotion. Better than a picture perfect instagram feed.
Better than falling asleep in the arms of a loving husband. Better than cradling a newborn baby. Better than settling into a 'forever home' custom built for you. Better than finally landing the job you've always wanted. Better than taking the European vacation you've been planning for years.
The steadfast love of the Lord is better still than the good stuff of life. Everything else is temporary, but God's love is forever. Believe it, and preach it to yourself today, sweet friend. Remember it, and hold on tight, because it's entirely too easy to lose sight of the truth in a world that seems intent on making us forget.
A love that's better than life will never let you go. It's a steadfast love. An everlasting sort of love. A no matter what kind of love. An even if you mess up I'll still love you kind of love. A never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love, as Sally Lloyd-Jones would say.
Jesus is better, y'all, so much better, than all the world. He satisfies us in a way that the fleeting fancies of this world never can. In him, we find everything we've always needed. Love. Joy. Peace. Grace. Strength. Mercy. Forgiveness. Redemption. Restoration. Glory.
And that's why we, like David, sing God's praises. It's why we meditate on his word, pour out our hearts in prayer, and gather together regularly. So that we can remember the great love that he has given us. To recount all the ways that he has shown it to us. And to go forth and show the world what it's like to be loved like that.
Until next time, grace and peace.