Satisfied with Jesus

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

It is not enough for Jesus to win your heart. He has to be the satisfaction of your heart! 

There are many believers who have never been satisfied with Jesus. They're up or down according to their circumstances. That is not a suitable bride for this bridegroom. No, a certain beauty must adorn his bride in order to attract him: “So the King will greatly desire your beauty” (Psalm 45:11, NKJV). What is this beauty?

“Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2). This beauty is beheld in God's eyes; it is what Jesus sees in us that draws him.

The Holy Spirit says to the bride of Christ, “If you will lay aside everything, forget all others and adorn yourself for him alone, then he will desire your beauty.” This means no job, no person, no relationship can come between you!

I heard a godly wife say, “The more godly my husband becomes, the more attractive he is to me.” Indeed, that is what a godly marriage is all about. Likewise, the more you give yourself in entire devotion to the Lord, the more attractive and beautiful you become to him.

“So the King will greatly desire your beauty…” (Psalm 45:11). What an incredible thought. Jesus will not be able to stay away from you. In fact, the Hebrew meaning of beauty here signifies a strong yearning and desire. In other words, Jesus will draw close to you, overflowing with desire for you!

I have performed many weddings in my lifetime, and there was never a groom who didn't smile with delight at his bride, thinking, “She's all mine!” Beloved, that is the beauty I'm talking about. Our bridegroom rejoices, saying of his bride, “I'm the apple of her eye. She'd rather spend time with me than with anyone else, and that makes her beautiful to me.”

Indeed, the bride of Christ has an inner beauty that makes her outwardly beautiful. She is “…all glorious within…” (Psalm 45:13) because she is devoted to her bridegroom. He knows beyond any shadow of a doubt, “She is all mine, devoted only to me. I am the only one in her life, the sole focus of her attention. She makes time for me, is overjoyed in my presence, and desires to be with me continually.” What beautiful devotion.

Remembering Our First Love

Gary Wilkerson

You may remember Ephesus from the New Testament; it was one of the largest churches during that time. This all started when Apollos was preaching to 12 men, then the Apostle Paul came along. There was a move of the Holy Spirit, then 12 turned into dozens then hundreds then thousands. History tells us that within a few decades, there were about 60,000 Christians in Ephesus.

The Apostle John was the pastor of the Church of Ephesus around the year 90 AD, when Emperor Domitian came in to build temples of worship to himself. If you’ve studied Revelation, you know there's a mark of the beast coming. In the 1st century, though, there was another kind of mark. Before you could go into the agora, the place of shopping, you had to dip your finger in the ashes of a sacrifice to the idol of Domitian, and you wiped those ashes on your forehead. When you did that, you were allowed to go in and shop. 

The Apostle John refused to participate in this, and Emperor Domitian had him exiled to the island of Patmos. While John was on this island, Jesus gave him messages for the early churches. These letters are important because it had probably been about 40-50 years since Christ walked the earth. 

How many of you know the feeling of following Christ for a decade, or maybe many decades? Sometimes, without even knowing it, we drift a little bit. We lost the passion of our first love, but we don’t notice that we have because we’re so busy, and our “to-do” list keeps us occupied. We are no longer stirred in our hearts for the glory and power and presence of God. Is this you? 

If Jesus were to write you a letter today, what would he have to say? 

We are nothing without Jesus. We have no power in our wisdom or our own strength. Scripture notes, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me…” (Jeremiah 9:23-24, ESV). Do you passionately know and understand the Lord? Are you seeking him day and night? If we haven’t or we once did but have forgotten to recently, we can start today. 

Friendship with God

Mark Renfroe

I have always felt a lack of friendship. I’m sure that comes with being an only child, at least in part; another part would simply be the world we live in where relationships are often conditional or situational. Even so, I have found that my concern about what people think of me and my desire for friendships has often led me to try too hard. I attempt to work for things that can only be given by the other person.

The wonderful part about friendship with God is that he knows me fully, loves me completely, and he’s the one who initiates the friendship. It doesn’t get better than that! Nevertheless, I have caught myself trying to “work for it.” 

For way too many years, I worked for fruitfulness in Christ. Okay, to be completely honest, I worked for success. Only after experiencing significant dissatisfaction did I realize that success and fruitfulness aren’t the same. People work for success. Some achieve it; others don’t. As God describes it, fruitfulness is the overflow of his work in our life. The branch doesn’t work to be fruitful. It just abides in the vine. If we abide in him, fully resting in the relationship he has extended to us, allowing his life-giving nourishment to flow into and through us, joyfully accepting his pruning, God will produce the fruit.

We don’t work to ‘earn’ the relationship; we don’t work to earn fruitfulness. 

Now please hear me: I’m not advocating against spiritual disciplines or making sure that we obey biblical commands. I’m simply saying that God’s friendship and the transformation that his presence brings into our lives is a free gift that we can’t earn or control. 

God gives us one more thing related to his friendship and fruitfulness: eternal life. Most Christians equate eternal life with going to heaven. It surely includes that, but it’s so much more. The Apostle John wrote, “this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3, ESV). We begin to know God here on earth; then in heaven, our knowledge of God will once and for all be perfect. 

Today, I hope you will sit and think on how God’s generosity affects your views of friendship, fruitfulness and eternal life. These three gifts should fill each one of us with not only incredible gratitude but also peace. 

Mark Renfroe and his wife, Amy, have been involved in field missions work for 30 years. Mark served as the area director for Assemblies of God World Missions and currently serves as the chief missions officer for World Challenge.

Leaving and Forgetting

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

The Holy Spirit's message to the bride of Christ in Psalm 45 was “Forget your own people also, and your father's house” (Psalm 45:10, NKJV). The still, small voice was whispering, “It isn’t enough just to leave your past behind. You must also forget it all. Put every past love and distraction behind.”

The messenger here says to the bride, “Are you going to give him mere lip service after the wedding, or does your mind wander back to things of your past, old friends, habits and loves? If you commit to this marriage, you must not only leave your past behind, you must forget it completely.”

When Jesus speaks of some who “do not forsake all” (Luke 14:33), he is speaking of those who turn from him and cling to idols. An idol is anything that possesses our time, attention, love or money.

Many husbands can rightly say that they are good providers, right? They work long and hard and spend quality time with their families. How much time do they devote to Jesus? Do they have what I call a “leaving-and-forgetting time” when they set aside quality time for Jesus alone?

Many wives also neglect their time with God. They have given their husbands and children the best years of their lives. They are hardworking and faithful and they take good care of their families. Yet, how much “leaving-and-forgetting time” do they give to Jesus? How many hours a week do they shut out the world and draw close to him?

The problem isn't family or career. Rather, it’s the loitering, aimlessly lounging around and wasting time. Many of God's people spend their time endlessly idly spending time with friends or lolling in front of the TV. We waste so many precious hours and neglect our Lord and Savior.

How jealous the Lord must be over all our other loves, all the things that eat up our time and attention. The old adage is true. It's not the ‘bad’ that is the enemy of the Christian, but the ‘good.’ It's family, career, job, children. These things in themselves do not stand between us and the Lord. No, it's our loitering. The Lord wants his time alone with us. It is crucial that we take time out and give him our full attention. He asks us, “Do you love me more than these?” (John 21:15).

Listen and Consider

David Wilkerson (1931-2011)

“Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband… Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife’” (Revelation 21:2,9, NKJV).

This is a beautiful picture of the last-day church of Jesus Christ. The great, holy city descending out of heaven is his spotless bride, the church seated with him right now in heavenly places. This church is built upon the foundation of gospel truths of the twelve apostles. It is surrounded by walls and gates that keep out everything impure and uninvited.

The queen in gold is honored, favored, greatly adorned, and now she stands next to her beloved. As the wedding is about to begin, though, the voice of a third party is heard! A voice whispers to her, “Listen, O daughter, consider and incline your ear. . .” (Psalm 45:10).

I believe this voice is the Holy Spirit, warning all who are called by his name. He is speaking a word to those most in love with Jesus, saying, “Listen and consider.” This voice comes to the bride in the final moments just before the marriage is to be consummated.

Now, you must understand, the queen has already been chosen. Her heart has already been won by her bridegroom. She has left her home, family and country and has committed herself to him. She is full of joy because she passionately loves the king.

So, let me ask you: Do you think of yourself as chosen by the Lord? Are you the redeemed apple of his eye? Do you love him with all your heart? Have you left all the world and your past for him? “He is mine, and I am committed to him. Lord, I love you with all my heart!” Can you say that?

The point is if you want to be in the bride of Christ, you must be concerned with more than simply escaping a godless hell. Rather, you must have a deep desire not to be absent on that great wedding day! You must shudder at the very thought of not being his bride, of not being in his embrace, not spending eternity with him.