The Personal Passion for Christ
Edited from an article by
"To what profit is it that we dwell in Jerusalem, if
we do not see the King's face?"
There is a passion for Christ which has been given to very
few to possess, and which has set those who have it apart
from their fellow men.
Is not this the quality which separates between Christian
and Christian; which marks out some, the rare ones, as beings
apart from the rest of us? Is it not this quality in the writings
of the mystic which, as in no other spiritual literature,
pulls at our heartstrings and creates a pain of longing? These,
who were "friends of God" had a personal passion
The trouble with the rest of us is that we are content to
dwell in Jerusalem without seeing the face of the King. We
are hard at work for Him. The hours rush by, leaving us scarcely
time to give a thought to the Lover of our souls who is longing
for our friendship.
Amidst the swirl of pleasure which is engulfing the majority
of those who call themselves Christians, God has His own.
These are men and women whose faith and zeal burn brighter
as the world's darkness deepens.
There is so much splendid orthodoxy that leaves us cold,
so much preaching of "the simple Gospel" that excites
no enthusiasm. But at rare intervals, one meets with someone
who, like Paul, has looked into the matchless face of Jesus
and who henceforth sees nothing save the face of his Beloved.
There is a radiance about such a one, a glory shining forth,
a wonderful quality of voice and handclasp, a fragrance unmistakable.
These keep company with their Beloved in the place where there
is a "fountain of gardens, a well of living waters and
streams from Lebanon".
What makes the difference? It is not knowledge, for knowledge
puffes up. We have knowledge in abundance. God has given us
great teachers of His Word. But, too often our knowledge is
a "form of Godliness", the power of which we are
denying because we do not possess it. No, it is not knowledge
that makes the difference, nor is it orthodoxy, zeal or our
What was it that made Moses, the lawgiver, as keenly appreciative
of the grace of God as was even Paul himself? Moses was the
incomparable "friend of God" because he possessed
a passion for the Lord in an unusual degree. Is there anything
so sublime anywhere in the sacred Word as Moses' refusal to
go on without His presence? The Lord had said unto Moses,
"Depart and go up hence...I will not go up in the midst
of thee... lest I consume thee by the way". But Moses
had long companied with God and it was unthinkable that now
this wondrous presence should be withdrawn. An angel might
be all right for other people, but not for the man who was
accustomed to talk to God "face to face, as a man talks
to his friend".
Moses dared say to God, "If thy presence go not with
me, carry us not up hence". In the grief of that sad
day, how glad God must have been to find one man who at all
costs wanted the best, and how gladly He must have said, "Moses,
I will do this thing also, that thou has spoken. My presence
shall go with thee and I will give thee rest". The heart
of God must have been refreshed by the devotion of His friend
that day, and God never forgot it. Later, Moses stood with
Him on the mount of Transfiguration.
In our zeal for the better, are we missing the best? The
word of our Lord to us is still, "He that loveth Me,
shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him and will
MANIFEST Myself unto him". In Heaven, the redeemed shall
see His face and serve Him, but it is blessedly true that
He will manifest Himself to those who love and serve Him here.
There is a reward for the obedient disciple, there is power
and authority for the faithful disciple, there is a glory
of achievement for the zealous disciple. But, there is the
whisper of His love, the joy of His presence and the shining
of His face, for those who LOVE HIM FOR HIMSELF ALONE.
"And to what profit is it that we dwell in Jerusalem,
if we do not see the face of the King?"