I Love Thee Still

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
There is a growing looseness and laxity apparent to any who are taking account of things, and this especially takes the form of worldliness in amusements, dress, furnishing of our homes, our affiliations and companionships.
The cross in which we once gloried as crucified with Christ, seeing on the one side a dead world, and on the other a dead self, we view as the transaction in which our sins were put away and there we pause, disinclined to accept it as the end of ourselves for the world and the end of the world for us (Gal. 6:1414But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. (Galatians 6:14)). "God forbid that I should glory" has ceased to be our prayer. We do not want the world rendered an object of contempt and shame to us, nor do we want to be rendered this to the world; and yet this is where the cross should leave us.
We have lost Christ, maybe not as the object of faith, but as the object of affection. And this is where declension begins. For us it too often is enough to know Him just as a Savior. We are willing to use His sorrows and sufferings to separate us from our sins, but we do not want these to separate us from ourselves and from our surroundings. With the individual as with the Church, we are thus under the charge of "Thou hast left thy first love," and are solemnly called to "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen." There may be much in us that He can commend, but if He has lost His place in our hearts; if affections are alienated, we are "fallen." Searching and solemn indictment! And what is His word to us? "Repent"!
It is not enough to be on the ground, and to have the truth. We but repeat the sin of the Pharisees when we become content and complacent with externals. The truth must give us a state that agrees with the place we are in. If this is effected, we will not walk in the manners of that world from which His cross has separated us.
Has the blessed Spirit been so grieved that He can no longer make good to us what is true of us in Christ? Have we lost the sense of His preciousness in our souls (1 Pet. 2:77Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, (1 Peter 2:7))? What disposition or desire can be satisfied apart from Christ in whom every beauty, every charm, and every glory meets? All else must be disappointing, temporary, and empty. The joy you are looking for, you are leaving behind you in turning away from Him. Once you counted the passions and pleasures, the gold and its glory as loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus your Lord. "Where is then the blessedness ye spake of?" Iniquity abounds, and the love of many waxes cold.
But He is the same, and our failure has not diminished His fullness; it is for us still. However chilled in heart or wayward in walk, I hear Him saying, "I love thee still." Is there not a message from the cross, where love's sweetest story was so fully told, where we became His at such awful cost, where He bought us so dearly?
"I gave it all for thee;
What hast thou given for Me?"
How much are you missing by leaving Him out of your life? And how much He is missing! The next thing to being with Him above is to have Him with us here, to have His conscious presence, and so have our part with Him. When everything was slipping, Paul wrote Timothy, "The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit." Do we catch this? It is the first lap toward being already in heaven. He was given for you. Glory to His name! But have you lost the realization of Him as the One who was given to you? 0 what a loss, since Christ is all. He is the exalted One, "far above all heavens," and you, not only the object of His consideration, but of His love!
Do you begin to grasp that height to which He has been carried: "far above all heavens"? He is at the top, at the top of the universe; and "I am His, and His desire is toward me." What a secret to be in on, a secret angels cannot know. Wait before Him until He fills you with His own fullness. For one look at Him there, Paul counted "all things but loss." No wonder he passed into an ecstasy, and was "beside himself." Stephen, enamored of Him, wore an angel's face. Look long and lingeringly on that face that streams with the light of His glory, and it will cast a shade on all below.
And are you passing it all by? It is your loss now, and eternally. Once in the secret of what Christ is, no wine can move itself "aright"; and earth's joys will become stale, and as His coming casts the light of the nearing glory across this "little while," it will take the burden from your cross, and the sharpness from the thorns as you hasten to meet Him with a bridal hymn