“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine—shepherding in the lilies.”
(Song of Solomon 6:3)
Beloved. That is a name that is given by God to his own people, and as a reflection of God’s use of that word toward us, we use that term to refer to one another. Beloved… The word literally means “the one who is loved,” that is simple enough, but oh, what connotations that word carries for us in life. Believer, do you recognize that you are the beloved of Christ? When you think of yourself in relationship to God the Father, do you think of yourself as the object of his love? So often, we talk a great deal about what God did for us and of the love that Jesus demonstrated for us on the cross, but sometimes we don’t let those words sink home. Do you really know that God loves you personally, individually, deeply, and passionately?
I remember what it was like when my wife, Denise, and I were first courting one another. Her simple presence in the room was enough to make my heart skip a beat. The excitement of the fact that this beautiful woman loved me was something that I found to be overwhelming. And though the dynamics of that relationship have changed dramatically over the past decade, there is a peace and a confidence that I get as a result of knowing that I always have a safe place to return to and loving arms to hold me. And Christ wants us to understand that this is the kind of relationship that he wants to have with his people. It is not enough that he redeems us, but he wants us to have a love affair with him as well. He wants us to know the excitement that comes from a relationship with one who loves us so deeply and unconditionally that pretenses have no place—there is no dark spot of our lives that we can hide from him, yet he chooses to love us anyway.
And though, over time the initial excitement of this relationship to Christ may wane some, there still should be the wonderful peace that comes from knowing that no matter where you happen to go or what trials that you happen to experience, you will always have Christ at your side, loving you, holding you, strengthening you, carrying you… And knowing this peace—knowing that you always have a safe place to retreat to in the arms of Christ and a promise that you cannot be plucked from his hands—knowing this peace should give you the confidence to take chances for the gospel. When you know you are loved so fully and deeply by Christ, you can risk the rejection of the world because you are never without a safe place to retreat to—a place that we are never separated from, for Christ will never, no never, leave the side of his loved ones.
Part of our problem is that we often do not or have not stopped to experience and enjoy the love that Christ has for us. We do not dwell in it or on it; we do not rest safely within his arms. Friends, think of the peace and security that you enjoy resting safely in the arms of your parent or your spouse. No words need to be exchanged, but when words are spoken they are both calming and assuring. Can you say this about the times when you rest in Christ? Do you deliberately take time dwelling in meditation on God’s word, prayerfully reflecting on a given passage of scripture, that you can draw your security out of such a relationship? Beloved, how stale a marriage is where parties to not communicate with one another or rest in each other’s arms—how stale our faith grows—how stagnant it gets, when we do not rest in the security that comes from knowing that we are the beloved of God. And that security comes from spending time in prayer and meditation upon God’s word.