Life, in general, entails a gap between what we want things to be and what they actually are. There’s also, in my experience, a gap between the level of desire I want to have for something and the level of desire I actually have. For example, more foundational than my desire to eat better is a desire to want to eat better. It’s hard to do because at least half of me doesn’t want to eat better. I see people eating kale and various inedible nutrition pastes and think “I wish my desire to be healthy was strong enough that I’d have a desire to eat that.”
My relationship with Christ is similar. I want more of Jesus, but often my deeper problem is I don’t want to want Him enough. I want to want Him more. I wish my desires for other things didn’t overwhelm my desire for Christ as much as they do.
What I’m trying to say is that my desires aren’t strong enough and, ironically, the desires I have to strengthen my desires are not strong enough. C.S. Lewis’ quote about playing in the mud is overused because it is immensely true.
So how do I increase my desire for something? Desire is kind of a slippery thing and it’s not entirely controllable. Often, we have to approach it in a roundabout way. But I think with Christ it’s not as complex as it may seem.
Q: How do we make ourselves want Jesus more?
It sounds like a cheeky answer until we understand the following: Jesus is lovely and worthy of love. The more we see Him the more we will love Him because He is lovely and things which are lovely spark our love.
John Owen referred to the action of seeing Jesus for who He is as “beholding Christ” and called the action of it “one of the greatest privileges and advancements that believers are capable of in this world, or that which is to come.” 1
Do you want to love Christ more? Behold Him more. Remind yourself of how desirable He is.
Owen again: “for in this present beholding of the glory of Christ, the life and power of faith are most eminently acted. And from this exercise of faith, love to Christ principally, if not solely, arises and springs.” 2
We’re fickle, hazy-eyed people who wander around in a flashy, neon world that sucks us into every form of here-ness. The Bible tells us to dwell on the things above and to fix our eyes on Christ because a continual beholding of Christ increases our desire for Him (Hebrews 12:1; Colossians 3:2). Keeping our eyes on Jesus continually reminds us that He is immensely desirable.
I’ll end with another excellent quote from C.S. Lewis:
There is no other way to the happiness for which we were made. Good things as well as bad, you know, are caught by a kind of infection. If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet, you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them. They are not a sort of prize which God could, if He chose, just hand out to anyone. They are a great fountain of energy and beauty spurting up at the very center of reality. If you are close to it, the spray will wet you: if you are not, you will remain dry. Once a man is united to God, how could he not live forever? Once a man is separated from God, what can he do but wither and die? 3
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Danny Nathan grew up at Grace participating in the music and worship ministry. He’s currently a worship leader at Grace, ushering people into God’s presence through song in a variety of venues, including our Sunday worship services and Grace Students gatherings. Danny is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a degree in English. In June 2016, Danny married his high school sweetheart, Alli.
1 Owen, John. The Glory Of Christ: His Office And Grace. Christian Heritage Imprint, 2008. Pg. 42
2 Ibid, Pg. 46
3 “Good Infection.” Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis, HarperOne — an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2005, Pg. 176