Introduction

Introduction

Devotional

Beautiful One

I love you, O Lord, my strength. (Psalm 18:1)

I love Jesus.

It’s a very simple statement, but would you be willing to stand up and say it in a crowded room? Even if it were a sanctuary half-filled with fellow confessing Christians, would you be able to provide such an affectionate affirmation without feeling out of place or at least a little awkward?

Whether our audience is a single coworker or a group of complete strangers, a friendly neighbor or a collection of our friends and family, or even just a little gathering at our local church, it can be difficult to express to others the loves we feel most deeply. Our society seems to increasingly to put pressure on us to keep our conversations at the surface level, and keep an arm’s length between the public discourse and what we really believe and treasure. Talk about sports, the weather, even politics, but don’t divulge what matters most, especially when it might be seen as religious.

Shamelessly Emotional

But whatever reticence we feel to express ourselves about the most important things, we need not give in to the pressures and expectations of the twenty-first century to define what we’re willing to say, and how emotionally involved we’re willing to get with Jesus.

The first words of Psalm 18 are gloriously out of step with what would be politically expedient and accepted publicly today. Verse 1: “I love you, O Lord, my strength.”

It’s so simple and so significant. King David, who writes this psalm, is unashamed to share what matters most, and that he doesn’t just believe in the Lord, and honor the Lord, and trust the Lord, but he loves the Lord. He doesn’t shy away from this public declaration of affection. And in doing so, he models well for us the kind of emotionally engaged approach that God would have us take toward his Son.

Wonderful, Beautiful, Marvelous

There is an important place for objectivity in the Christian faith. It is objective truths about God and his world and sin and salvation and the cross and the resurrection that is at the heart of our faith. And yet a mere objective approach to Jesus will never be adequate. God means to have both our minds and our hearts.

Jesus is not only to be seen as objectively real, and his gospel as objectively true, but he means to be subjectively appreciated as wonderful, and perceived as spiritually beautiful, and worshiped as surpassingly marvelous.

The song “Beautiful One” has its place for the objectives: his cross, his mighty works, his glory filling the sky. But this chorus is carried by the subjective. It gushes over Jesus, and that’s is a good thing.

Every Christian should have a place for orienting on our Savior with this kind of affection. His unfailing love is “wonderful, so wonderful,” and has captured our heart. He is glorious and beautiful — he is the “beautiful one I love” and adore and about which my soul must sing. “Nothing on earth is as beautiful as” Jesus.

Here is a song, like Psalm 18, not ashamed to make this important public declaration of affection: I love Jesus.