Have you ever noticed how long Galatians 2:20 is? For many years I thought that verse was too long. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me”—to me, just that much was sufficient. Many times I quoted just the first part of Galatians 2:20, thinking the last half was unnecessary. But Paul added, “who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Paul simply could not contain himself. Since he had such a One living in him, the love of Christ constrained him. It is a constraining power. The love of Christ constrains us to live no more unto ourselves. He loved me and gave Himself for me; now I love Him and live by Him.
The Apostle Paul had been an enemy and persecutor of the Lord Jesus. But at a certain time the Lord knocked him to the ground. Then he was turned from being an enemy and a persecutor of Jesus to being one who loved Jesus. Real power is in love. Love can do everything. All the mothers know that there are many things that no one but mothers can do for their children, because mothers have the loving power. If we really love the Lord Jesus, we will have the power and strength to do anything for Him.
I read a poem once which was written by a martyr at the time of her martyrdom. I cannot quote it, but I can recall the main point. She said that every martyr of Jesus is one who loves Jesus; every one who loves Jesus will give his life for Jesus. Can you die for others? If you love them, you can. Love can do it. Nothing but love could make us die for others. If we love Jesus, we will be willing to die for Him. This was why the Lord Jesus asked Peter, “Lovest thou me?” He asked him three times, and Peter answered, “Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.” Then eventually the Lord told him how he would die. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God” (John 21:18-19). As one who loved Jesus, Peter would also be a martyr for Jesus.
Do you think that to follow and sacrifice your life for Jesus is a suffering? On the contrary, it is really an enjoyment because we love Him. The power is in the love.
ENJOY BY LOVING
Life is a Person, and there is no other way to apply and enjoy this Person but by love. We need to love Him. Some of the saints in past centuries used to pray, “Lord, show me Your love that I may love You.” We need to pray the same prayer. Once we see the love of Jesus, we will be so constrained, so captured, and so attracted. We will spontaneously love Him. Then by loving Him, we will enjoy Him. This is life, and since this life is a Person, there is no other way for us to experience Him but by love. Only by loving Jesus can we enjoy Him.
If I want to enjoy a brother, I must love that brother. The more I love him, the more I enjoy him. The Lord Jesus is not a doctrine; He is not a set of gifts or a power; He is a Person who needs our love, our appreciation, and our affection. How we need the sweet affection and love toward the Lord Jesus!
Many Christians today hold the teachings, but are so cold toward the Lord. They have all the doctrines, the dispensations, the prophecies, and the types. Some even have doctor’s degrees in divine teachings, yet they are so cold toward the Lord Jesus. We can deal with teachings in this way, but we cannot deal with this Person in a cold way. We can exercise our mind to deal with all the doctrines, and yet our heart remains cold. If we are going to deal with this Person, we must have a hot and loving heart, a heart so full of affection that we would contact Him all the time. One book among the sixty-six books of the Bible, the Song of Songs, illustrates how the Lord Jesus is altogether lovely. This book shows how the Lord is so attractive, and how we are those who love Him. We just love Him! Could you love some doctrine in this way? I do not believe that you could even love the gifts in this way. Do you love the gifts? Could you say, “O dear gifts, you are altogether lovely! Oh, the healing! Oh, the speaking in tongues! All the gifts are so sweet!”? Just try to speak in this way. It simply does not fit. But we can say a thousand times, “Lord Jesus, You are altogether lovely! O Lord Jesus, You are altogether lovely!”
Suppose you have the best furniture in your home. The chairs, the sofas, the desks, and the bedroom furniture are all very beautiful and expensive. But could you love them like you love a person? Could you go to one of the chairs and tell it, “Little chair, I just love you. You are altogether lovely”? Could you do that? I simply could not do it. I do care for all the furniture in my apartment, but I have never told it how much I love it. I simply cannot express myself in this way. But the more you say this to a person, the more there is the sweet love and enjoyment. This is because there is the affectionate attachment in a person. The Lord Jesus is not a chair; He is not a sofa; neither is He a teaching, a doctrine, a gift, or a power. He is a loving Person. “My Beloved is altogether lovely! He is my life!” This life is nothing else but a lovely Person.
We may talk about Christ being our life, but if we do not have the real love toward Him, He is only life to us in doctrine. We just have the doctrine of Christ as life; we do not have the enjoyment of Him as life. If we would enjoy Jesus as life, we must love Him. As long as we love Him, even if we do not know the term “life,” we will enjoy life. We will not know a doctrine, but we will enjoy Jesus, a living Person, as our very life.
(Life and Building as Portrayed in the Song of Songs, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)