November 13, 2005 
Last week-end I attended a women’s retreat in Southern California with two of my sisters, Janet and Karen. It was a good time to seek the Lord and to share one another’s burdens and pray for each other. The theme of the retreat was "Magnificent Obsession," with Jesus as the Bridegroom in view. One song that was highlighted was called "One Pure and Holy Passion." Part of the lyrics are "Give me one pure and holy passion; give me one magnificent obsession. . . Lead me on and I will run after you." It brings up images of the Shulamite woman in the "Song of Solomon" longing to be in her beloved’s embrace.

Janet and I bowed out of some of the sessions in order to delve into the Word of God together. The Lord often gives us revelation from His word when the two of us get together. Back in our room we talked about many things. We both had mixed feelings about the emphasis on the words "obsession" and "passion." These are words that are very emotional in nature and invoke a carnal sense to define romantic love. After one particular worship and testimony session, Janet said to me, "Jackie, I discerned something that may seem strange and just wanted to pass it by you to see if you got the same impression. During some of the songs and testimonies I sensed Jesus being spoken of in the same way one might speak of a lost lover one is pining away for. Is that just me, or did you get the same impression?

"It’s not just you, Janet," I responded. "Look at what I wrote in my notes during the session." And I showed her my scribblings on my note pad that read: "Reflection – Women’s Praise has a tendency to come from a sentimental, sensual place – songs one could sing to a lover – carnal basis. Not all the songs, but many."

I do not mean to be putting down well-intentioned Christian women by sharing this. I just think that as women we’re more inclined to romanticize ideas. Women need love and long to see demonstrations of it – it’s part of our nature. The Apostle Paul understood this when he told husbands to "love your wives; just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her" (Eph. 5:25) and "so love his own wife as himself" (Eph 5:33). And he told wives to see to it that they respect their husbands – a need that men have that is ingrained in their nature.

But the truth is: the typology of ‘husbands and wives’ with ‘Christ and the church’ is just that – typology – an earthly example of a heavenly reality – similar but not the same. Both men and women make up the church and we don’t see men thinking of our mutual Savior in terms of romantic love. But in the natural, romantic love is a foretaste of our future reunion with Jesus as the unified Body of Christ. This idea may stumble some men who don’t want to look at another man in those terms and it stumbles women who look to Jesus in a sensual earthly manner. Surely, the right balance needs to be comprehended and a true spiritual longing to see Jesus face to face – not with Eros love – but with eternal Agape love for ‘my Lord and my God,’ as rightly expressed by the Apostle Thomas.

A distorted view by some women with a romanticized Jesus is not new. Catholic nuns have taken their vows to Christ as their husband for centuries. Yet, by not experiencing earthly love for a husband on earth, they miss out on the foreshadow altogether. On the other hand, some women have not felt loved by their own husbands and have projected that lack upon Jesus instead. This too is amiss, though easily understood. And some single women, feeling as though love has eluded them, have eased the pain by imagining a Lord who will satisfy their fleshly desire to be held and told that they are beloved. Others have fallen for the wrong man – even unbelievers – to attain love. To these I would say "Do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases" (Song 8:4), i.e. until the Lord brings the right person at the right time who will show you love that prefigures Christ’s love for His Bride, the church. I would encourage those women to wait for that man and do not project those desires improperly upon a fleshly mental image of Jesus. The Bible says:

2Co 5:16b – "we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer."

Here’s how He last appeared to the Apostle John:

Rev. 1:13b-17a "I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man."

Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us your Son who died for us and loves us with a love our carnal natures cannot fathom. Help us by the power of Your Holy Spirit to return that love with total devotion to live and die for You. Keep us in your care and give us the right attitude toward You and others. Cause us to love and sin not. Even so, come Lord Jesus. Amen.

"Responses"

From Beverly      So many of the songs could be sung to anyone , no emphasis on Jesus or any thing else. His Name was not in the song nor the Blood or Cross or anything.  One song my last church got into was .: "He is under my feet under my feet, Satan is under my feet"
     I think the name of it is" I went to the Enemy's Camp" and I took back what he stole from me.  I took back what he stole from me .. He's under my feet etc..
     I said that is enough I am out of here!.. Satan is not under my feet.  He is under the Lord's feet and only the Lord's feet and I am not singing and using Satan's name in church..
     If he was under our feet this church would have no problems.  We would be delivered from everything evil in the world ..I don't see that in the church and singing it doesn't make it so.. You can sing all day and night but it is not going to change a thing.. Only the Word delivers etc... amen
     Some of the songs have a great melody, romantic, lovely music that just is not heard anymore this days except in songs by , maybe Josh Groban. We lack so much in the music and people think that they cannot get along with out music in church.. ..
     Anyhow the songs are generic but lovely tunes and they could be sung to anyone .I left the church I could not take it anymore ..You are right Jackie ! Come Lord Jesus!

{Hi - You were right in getting out of that church. The same people who sing about Satan also address him in their prayers -- such as "and I rebuke you Satan . . ." What do they think, that the devil is omnipresent? I hope you were able to find another place to fellowship where the pastor watches out for the sheep and drives away the wolves. It's harder and harder to find such places anymore. -- Jackie}

From Sherry Hi Jackie,   You have hit the proverbial nail on the head. I have felt this way for some time about some of the choruses that are commonly sung. In fact, I often refrain from singing those parts that I sense are carnal in nature and in my opinion improper and not honoring to Christ. I have even heard well-meaning single Christian women refer to Jesus as their “date”. I believe that this is bringing our Lord down to a subspiritual level. I have never had this confirmed to me before and I have often thought that there must be something wrong with me because no one else has apparently picked up on this.
     An example that comes to mind is in the song, “I can only imagine” which most of the lyrics are acceptable, the part where it says, “Will I dance for you Jesus?” has a carnal connotation to me and I cannot bring myself to sing it. I think we as a Body have forgotten just how holy our God is and that He does not belong on our level. His ways are not our ways. He is so holy that in this body of flesh He cannot reveal Himself to us physically. We have replaced reverence and awe for God with cheap sentimentality. He is our Friend yes, and He will fill every need in our life, but the relationship cannot compare to any here in this life.
     You are so blessed to have like-minded biological sisters as well as sisters in Christ. . . . Thank you for sharing this Jackie. I fear that very few will share our concerns.
God bless, Sherry

{Hi Sherry: I agree with you about that song, "I can only imagine." I was real irritated when they began to do that song at our church in Corpus Christi. When I hear that refrain "Will I dance for you" I can only think of Herodias' daughter dancing for Herod and asking for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Maybe Herod was amused by dancing, but I don't think it will excite Jesus in eternity. --Jackie]

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