An excerpt from “Loving Jesus More" by Phil Ryken
The goal of this book is to help people grow more in love with Jesus.
How important is it for us to pursue this goal? At the beginning of his classic devotional text, The True Christian’s Love to the Unseen Christ, the Puritan Thomas Vincent wrote:
Love to Christ being so essential unto true Christianity, so earnestly looked for by our Lord and Master, so powerfully commanding in the soul and over the whole man, so greatly influential on duty, I have made choice to treat this subject of love to Christ, and my chief endeavor herein shall be to excite and provoke Christians unto the lively and vigorous exercise of this grace of love into the Lord Jesus Christ, of which incentive there is great and universal need.1
To make the same point more simply, there is hardly anything we need more in the Christian life than more love for Jesus. But this is a daunting challenge. Part of the challenge is personal: Will we really love Jesus more as a result of reading this book? But behind this lies the even greater challenge of comprehending God’s love for us, which is the true and ultimate source of all love for him. How can anyone do justice to the great love of God?
A.W. Tozer wrestled with this question in The Knowl- edge of the Holy, where he described the love of God “as an incomprehensibly vast, bottomless, shoreless sea.” Tozer observed that if we are going to understand God, “we must try to speak of his love,” for God is love. Yet this is difficult for even “the loftiest eloquence,” as he explained:2
All Christians have tried [to explain God’s love] but none has ever done it very well. I can no more do justice to that awesome and wonder-filled theme than a child can grasp a star. Still, by reaching toward the star the child may call attention to it and even indicate the direction one must look to see it. So as I stretch my heart toward the high shining love of God someone who has not before known about it may be encouraged to look up and have hope.3
As we consider God’s love for us in Jesus, which is the source of our love for him, we are “reaching for the stars.” But even if we are not able to “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Eph. 3:18–19 niv), at least we can point toward it and say, “See, there it is: the love of God in Jesus Christ.” And the more we see this love, the more our hearts will grow in affection for our Savior.
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1. Thomas Vincent, The True Christian’s Love to the Unseen Christ (Ligonier, PA: Soli Deo Gloria, 1996), 2.
2. A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (New York: Harper Brothers, 1961), 105.
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