Jesus is releasing a tangible groan in the earth. An ache, a longing, an unquestionable thirst and heart cry for His return. He has given his Bride this groan as a gift to keep our hearts and spirits awake when they are prone to sleeping. He is inviting us to embrace the tension of living between his first and second comings!
There are deep questions that we have to consider as the Consecrated Bride if we are going to steward this incredible gift of groaning. Are we willing to remain in the vulnerability of hunger at the heart level for years, continuing in the way of lovesickness even when disillusionment comes knocking on our door and the fire of when we first got saved seems too extravagant and too extreme?
What about when the options set in, the responsibilities rise, the children come, and the cares increase? Will we fight for the simplicity of loving Jesus radically and press against the torrential wave that carries away so many from whole-hearted consecration over the course of years?
When decades turn and years accumulate, will our lives be such that Jesus would say over our later years that love found its victory in us, and the steady tide of love became a mighty wave that no longer needed prodding but swept us effortlessly in its strength?
Oh, that love would abound and win over us, burning within us in such a way that it does not diminish over decades but steadily increases until the day we see His face? In his book Systematic Theology, Wayne Gruden puts it this way:
“Do Christians in fact eagerly long for Christ’s return? The more Christians are caught up in enjoying the good things of this life and the more they neglect genuine Christian community and deep intimacy with Jesus, the less they will long for his return. To some extent then, the degree to which we actually groan for Christ’s return is a measure of the spiritual condition of our lives right now.”
“I want to deliberately encourage this mighty groan for Jesus!” A. W. Tozer wrote. “The lack of it has brought us to our present low estate. The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. I am painfully conscious of my need for more grace —- and I’m ashamed of my lack of desire for His return.”
Tension in the Believer
As born-again believers in Jesus Christ, we all feel this tension. Peter calls it “the war against your soul” (I Pet. 2:11). Paul tells us we feel this tension because we live in “this present evil age” (Gal. 1:4). Because we truly love Jesus, this present delay suspends our hearts and souls in a radical and inescapable tension.
We don’t fit in! We are in the world but not of the world? We don’t manage our sin; we live in freedom and deliverance. So many of us settle for “normal” Christianity because we have no understanding of the revelation that we are created for eternal glory! To minister to the Lord and enjoy His pleasures that can only be found in His Presence! We miss out on nothing in the world, Beloved. They are missing out on what is going on here! Why don’t we fit into the world’s standards?
Jesus tells us it is because the world hates him. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18–19). Those who are in Christ—who belong to Him—are not of the world, “just as I am not of the world” (John 17:16).
Paul stresses this relationship, warning us that “many… walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things,” but reassuring us that “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:18–20).
“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth,” the writer of Hebrews describes our heroes of the faith in Chapter 11. “For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”
When Peter warns us of the war against our souls, he calls us “sojourners and exiles” (I Pet. 2:11). This world is not our home! Jesus blessed our hunger in Luke 6:21: “Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled.” He knew our human propensity to allow our hearts to become stifled and captured by a thousand lesser loves. He knew that without this hunger and aching after God, our hearts would become content with the temporary fixes that give us pleasure, even though momentary.
Today, let us prayerfully evaluate how we are stewarding our lives, marriages, and families in light of eternity. Do we long for the return of Jesus Christ? What adjustments do we need to start making now to position ourselves for a better future?
Marked for Eternity,