With the Glance of Your Eyes

By Francis Frangipane

"Who is this that grows like the dawn, as beautiful as the full moon, as pure as the sun, as awesome as an army with banners?" (Song of Sol. 6:10).

In spite of all the controversy and strife in our world, regardless of the clashing opinions in today's religious wars, the focus of Christ still remains upon His bride. It is our quest to turn our gaze toward Him.

Most of us sincerely love the Lord and are thankful for all He has done. However, too many are more comfortable celebrating what Jesus has done than accepting who He desires to be to us. We sing of His victories and teach of His mercies, yet rarely do we quiet our hearts and surrender to His presence. We want Him near enough to protect us but not so close that our consciousness is captured by His presence.

As awesome and liberating as it is to know what Jesus has done for us, until we actually surrender ourselves to Him, our religion will never be more than a "history lesson." Religion is not enough. It satisfies neither us nor Christ. Jesus wants to also know us.

You say, But He does know us! In His omniscience, He knows everything. But in His love, He seeks to know us as beings living in unbroken union with Him. He has the right to our souls, our secrets, and our dreams. He wants the person we are when no one else is looking. Yet, He will not force Himself. This is not the way of love.

This interpenetration of our lives in Him and His life in us is the only destiny with which Christ is content. At the end of the age, everything short of oneness with Christ will appear as sin.

God is Love
I know the fear of the Lord and that it is the beginning of true knowledge. But, like the apostle John, I have also Acome to know and have believed the love which God has for us" (1 John 4:16). God is love. Let us consider that the apostle who fell before Jesus as a dead man on the Isle of Pathos, later wrote, "There is no fear in love" (1 John 4:18).

The Lord knows our fear of God is a strong deterrent from sin and a powerful ally in walking uprightly. Yet, to draw near to Him we must know more than the fear of God; we must believe in "the love which God has for us." God's love is perfect. It "casts out fear, because fear involves punishment." John tells us that "the one who fears is not perfected in love" (v. 18).

When it comes to entering the presence of God, it is to be expected that fear, guilt, or shame should seek to hold us hostage. But as we believe in the love God has for us, in the brightness of His mercy the shadows of our past cannot exist.

The Heart of God
Last week I asked, If Christ were in the room, would you enter? How would you enter? We spoke of our sin, fear and shame being barriers. These are due to our perception of ourselves. Yet, when the thought first awakened within you that you could enter His presence, something also awakened in Him. He says,

"You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride; you have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes" (Song of Sol. 4:9).

Your glance, even if it was no more than the briefest anticipation of being with Him, made His heart beat faster. The King James Version reads, "Thou hast ravished my heart." Jesus is not returning simply to destroy wickedness; He is coming for a bride. At the end of the age our task is not simply to prepare for the rapture or the tribulation but for Christ!

You see, there is nothing more important to Jesus Christ than His bride, the church. He died for her. He lives to make intercession for her. His love proved itself capable and worthy of winning our full redemption. Our most noble task is to surrender to the love that reaches to us.

Longing for Jesus
How shall we respond? I am thinking of Mary Magdalene's love for Jesus. Yes, here in the love Jesus has for Mary, and in her response, we see flashes of Christ's love for the church.

Mary is at Jesus' empty tomb. The apostles came, looked into the sepulcher, and went away bewildered. But Mary lingered, weeping. It is noteworthy that Jesus did not immediately come to the apostles; He came first to a woman. This tells us Jesus responds to love more than position; He comes first to those who want Him most. The apostles went away wondering, but there was something in Mary's inconsolably broken heart that Jesus Himself was drawn to.

In her sorrow she did not recognize Him. He said, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" (John 20:15). Blinded by her tears, she supposes Jesus is the gardener.

"'Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.' Jesus said to her, 'Mary!' She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, 'Rabboni!' (which means, Teacher). Jesus said to her, 'Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father'" (John 20:15-17).

The instant Mary sees the Lord she clings to Him. And here is the most astounding event: Christ interrupted His ascent to answer this woman's love! Jesus said, "Stop clinging to Me . . . I have not yet ascended." In His next appearance, Jesus appears to the disciples. He tells them, "Touch me." For Mary, He broke protocol; whatever He meant in saying, "I have not yet ascended," He stopped His progression to be with her!

I am staggered by this response of Christ to Mary's longing. This is the nature of His love. His passion for His bride rules His every thought and action! We are the "joy set before Him" (Heb. 12:2). For us, He endured the anguish of the cross. In so doing, Jesus demonstrated that His love for the church is the highest, most powerful law of His kingdom!

It is His passion for the church that compels Him to come for us in His second coming. Yet, as He broke protocol for Mary, so He reveals His heart to us. If we will be satisfied with nothing less than Christ, it is Christ we shall possess. He will come to us. Of all the marvels in this universe, the greatest is the love Christ has for His church. Though He is standing behind our walls, the glance of our eyes makes His heart beat faster!

Oh Lord Jesus, forgive me for using Your gifts for myself, while withholding myself from Your love. Lord, I will love You with a perfect love, for my love is the love with which You first loved me.

Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, "The Days of His Presence" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.


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