How to Fall and Stay in Love with JesusGrowing Love 3: You Are Fair My Love
Day 13 of "How to Fall and Stay in Love with Jesus"
Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I turned to a sweet young mom in my church a few weeks ago and just said, “How are you doing?” She’s got three little ones, and she’s in a tough season of life where you’re just always tired and starting to wonder: “Are you cut out for this mom thing?”
She said to me, “I just feel like such a failure.”
She told me that she had said to her husband earlier that week, “You would really be better off without me.”
Now, she wasn’t suicidal, but she was just feeling like she didn’t measure up. She was seeing things in her responses and her attitudes that she knew weren’t right, and she was disgusted with herself and felt for sure her husband must be also. I know this girl. She’s got a sweet heart for the Lord, and she’s a great mom. But she doesn’t feel that way about herself, and I guess as soon as you do feel you’re a great mom, you probably aren’t.
As we had that conversation, I just said to my friend, “You need to counsel your heart with the truth. The enemy wants you to believe that your husband would be better off without you. Those are lies that you’re believing, and you need to tell yourself the truth.”
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, March 1.
If you feel unlovable, Nancy has great news for you. She’s picking back up in the Song of Solomon in a series called, “How to Fall and Stay in Love with Jesus.” Nancy told that young mom to counsel her heart with the truth, and in the Song of Solomon . . .
Nancy: We see the truth where the bridegroom says to his bride in verse 7: “You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you” (chapter 4)
That’s what my friend needed to hear. That’s what you need to hear. That’s what I need to hear. Now, we know that in and of ourselves, we are not beautiful. We are not fair. We are not lovely. There are spots in us. But Jesus sees us through eyes of love and what He is making us into, who He is in us and through us, and we’re going to see more about that as we continue in chapter 4.
One writer said it this way in his commentary on the Song of Solomon, “His love to us is a love to the loveless, in order to make us lovely.”
I like that! He takes the unlovable, the unloved, and the loveless, and He pours His love on us and makes us lovely. Just think about what effect it would have on us . . . and I’m picking up from where we left off in the last session . . . if we really believed that Jesus loves me, even knowing how undeserving and unworthy we are? Don’t you think it would make us joyful, grateful believers? Don’t you think it would motivate us to please and obey the Lord?
I think it would make us not want to allow any competitors to steal our affections. If we really had a sense of how much He loves us, unworthy as we are, wouldn’t we be concerned when we sense coldness or indifference creeping into our relationship with Him? And wouldn’t we want to introduce others to Him? You see, coming to receive the love that Christ has for us is no small deal. It affects every other area of our lives.
And so he said to her at the beginning of this chapter, “You are fair.” Now he says to her, in verse 7, “You are all fair, there is no spot in you.”
It makes you think of that passage in Ephesians 5 that tells us that Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for it. Why? So that He might purify it—no spot—that He might make it a radiant church without spot, wrinkle, blemish, or any such thing, but that we should be a glorious bride for Him (see vv. 26–27).
Jesus is purifying for Himself a Bride. He’s doing it corporately with all true believers who make up the Bride of Christ. But He’s also doing it for us individually and personally as part of that Bride.
Now, I know that process will not be complete until we get to heaven, but He speaks to us now as if the process were already completed. He sees the finished end. He rejoices in what we are positionally in Christ and in the prospect of what we will be when we see Him face to face. And from His eternal vantage point, He looks, and it’s one and all the same. So He can say, “You are all fair, my love, there is no spot in you.”
Now, this bride reflects like a mirror the beauty of her bridegroom, and while she delights in his beauty, he delights and finds joy in seeing his image reflected through her.
And so we come to verse 8 in chapter 4 of the Song of Solomon, where he calls to her and extends another invitation. Remember, the first invitation was, “Arise, come away, my beloved.” Now he says come again, but this time he says, “Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon. Look from the top of Amana, from the top of Senir and Hermon, from the lions’ dens, from the mountains of the leopards.”
Now, what in the world is all that about?
Well, Senir or Shenir, depending on your translation, and Hermon are some of the tallest mountain peaks in all of Israel. They are in northern Israel, and they are more than 9,000 feet high.
He says to her, “Come with me.” We see that he wants her to be with him. He doesn’t want there to be any distance between them. He’s calling her to come with him and look down from Lebanon, which is north of Israel, and to look from the tops of the mountain ranges in Palestine.
Now, we’ve heard about maintains and hills before in this book. Right? The mountains and hills that he said he leaps and skips on them like a deer or a gazelle. He wants her to climb those mountains and hills with him.
We said in the last session that Lebanon represents heavenly places, the high places. It makes me think of Colossians 3 that says: “If you then have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (vv. 1–3).
This is a call to take our position with Christ in the heavenlies and to look down and see what is taking place on this earth from His exalted perspective.
Now, of course, we’re not going to fully experience that resurrected ascended life until heaven. But we are called now to consider ourselves positionally to be risen with Christ, ascended with Christ, reigning with Christ, which raises the question: Why do so many Christians spend so much of their lives—myself included—living under the circumstances? What are we doing wallowing around in the muck and mire of this earth when we’ve been seated with Christ in the heavenlies?
“Come with me to the mountaintops.” He calls her to come up to these high places, as we’ve been called to walk with Christ in newness of life, to live with Him in the heavenlies, to reign with Him as one day we will do in fullness.
But then this bridegroom reminds his bride that up in these high places, in these mountains where he wants her to go with him, it’s not all beauty and glory, and just sitting here to enjoy the beautiful scenery from 9,000 feet up the air. There are lions’ dens in those mountains. There are leopards in those mountains. There are wild, dangerous animals. What’s that all about?
Well, as you think about that, think of Ephesians 6 that tells us about a battle that’s going on in the heavenlies. Jesus calls us to come with Him into the resurrection life, the ascension life, to live in the heavenlies with Him. But there’s a battle going on in the heavenlies. There are principalities, powers of darkness, demons, and they’re waging war in the unseen heavenly realm.
So when you think about the whole thing of spiritual warfare and what’s involved if you really go with Christ, if you take that invitation, that call to come with Him to the mountains, you may think: “I’m not so sure about this. I don’t know if I want to take my place in the heavenlies. Maybe I’d rather grovel down here on the earth where we at least don’t have mountain lions and leopards.”
The thing is, we know that Christ is seated far above all principalities and powers. They have no permission to do anything here on this earth that He does not give them. Those powers, those lions, those leopards, those powers of evil and darkness, they’re on a short leash. Their power is limited. The time and the duration of their efforts is limited. And they cannot touch your life without His permission. As long as we are in union with Him, we are safe even in the midst of the warfare.
You know, as a woman, sometimes I wish I could just leave all that warfare stuff to the men. I’m not much of a fighter, believe it or not, myself. I would truly rather just sit home and enjoy a peaceful life. I’m not so sure I want to go into that warfare. But He calls us to go into the battle with Him, armed and girded with the sword of the Spirit, the shield of faith, taking up the armor of God.
In union with Him, you can be victorious over the enemy. When the lion of Judah is with you and you are with Him, you are safe. “I will fear no evil”—no evil person, no evil thing, no evil power, not the evil one himself—"for you are with me" (Ps. 23:4).
Well, he goes on to say in verse 9: “You have ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; you have ravished my heart with one look of your eyes, with one link of your necklace. How fair is your love, my sister, my spouse! How much better than wine is your love, and the scent of your perfumes than all spices!” (vv. 9–10).
He calls her here for the first time “my sister, my spouse.” That word sister would be an expression of affection between lovers in ancient near east literature. It’s an intimate expression, and it’s a reminder of the family relationship that we enjoy with Christ.
Then he calls her, not only my sister, but “my spouse” or in some translations, “my bride.” He’s going to use that term five times here in verses 8 through 12 and then again just a paragraph later, “my spouse,” he calls her. That’s a reminder of the marriage covenant that unites them, as Christ and His Church are united by an eternal covenant.
Listen, this thing of having a relationship with Christ, it’s not just something that’s ethereal or romantic. It’s based on a covenant. As you have a covenant with your mate, Christ has made an eternal covenant with us, and that’s why He can call us His spouse. There’s an eternal relationship there with Him.
He says to her that she has ravished his heart. I like the way that different translations say this, it’s as if they’re at a loss for words. The ESV says here: “You have captivated my heart.” Another translation says, “You have stolen my heart.” And the NASB I like here, it says, “You have made my heart beat faster.” He is smitten by her beauty and by her love, and he finds her irresistible.
Ladies, this is a view, a vision of how Christ views His Bride, the Church. It’s not amazing that we should love Him, wonderful as He is, but it is a wonder that He should love us, that He should delight in us, that He should desire us in this way, needy and sinful as we are.
Her responsiveness to his love brings great joy to him, and he says that her love is beautiful to him. And Christ loves it when we say “yes” to Him; when we give ourselves to Him and receive His love. He says, “You ravish My heart. You captivate My heart.”
Again, something that taps into the longing, the deepest longing of our heart as a woman is to be ravishing to someone else. And thankfully, in marriage many of you have experienced some degree of that. That’s wonderful. But there’s a deeper degree that we can experience in our relationship with Christ as we receive His love.
He says to her, “How much better than wine is your love, and the scent of your perfumes than all spices.”
Now, in chapter 1, she said to him, “Your love is better than wine.” But now he says to her that her love is better to him than wine. He’s saying to her, “You are deeply satisfying to me. Your love is what I most desire.” Now, do you ever think of Christ thinking of you that way? He does. And it’s all for Him. It’s for His desire, for His pleasure.
Revelation 4 tells us that the whole purpose of our life is that we were created for His pleasure, to bring joy to Him, which again raises the question: Why then are we so often miserable? Well, I think it’s in part that we forget why we were created. You see, when we get the issue settled that my purpose in life ultimately is not to be happy; my purpose in life is to make Him happy, to bring Him joy and Him pleasure, then we can be happy because we see all of the circumstances of life in a different light.
He talks about the scent of her perfumes that blesses him, that brings him joy. It’s just a reminder that she bears on herself the fragrance of his perfumes, his fragrance. He has anointed her—if you think back to earlier parts of this book—so that she can bring fragrance and joy and blessing to him.
Well, in verse 11, he speaks of her lips, once again, and he likens the words that come out of her mouth to honey. He says, “Your lips, O my spouse, drip as the honeycomb; honey and milk are under your tongue.”
Honey and milk—her words drip as the honeycomb. Think about how honey comes out of the comb. Does it just gush out? No. Is it fast and flowing like a brook? No. Her lips are not like a babbling brook, not, gushing. The honey comes out very slowly, one drop at a time. And this groom uses that analogy to praise her speech. Her words don’t gush out. She doesn’t blurt out everything she thinks, which, again, is so contrary to the independent spirit that we’ve been trained to have today where we think we should be able to say whatever we think, whatever and wherever we wish. By contrast, her words are measured; they’re controlled.
Proverbs has a lot to say about this matter of our tongues. In chapter 10, it tells us, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.”
You’ve probably seen the studies that indicate that many of us women have a lot more words in us that want to be expressed than the average man. That can be a means of blessing when we speak those words, but it can also be dangerous. It can do a lot of damage if our tongues are not under the control of the Spirit and saying what He wants us to say.
That’s the danger for me of being a speaker, being a Bible teacher. I perpetually have a need for the Lord to set a guard around my tongue. That’s one of the reasons I use notes because I know if I just go off on my own, I’m likely to say . . . in the multitude of words, there is going to be sin. I just have to ask the Lord, “Don’t let me say anything that would dishonor You, anything that would be less than true, anything that would be hurtful or destructive rather than edifying and building others up.”
It’s so important that we get our minds and our hearts filled with His Word, so that when we talk, what comes out is the overflow of His Word, His ways, His heart, His thinking.
Proverbs also tells us in chapter 24, verse 13 that "honey is good and sweet to the taste." Our words are to be sweet if they are like honey.
Proverbs 18: 21 tells us "death and life are in the power of the tongue." We can build up, or we can tear down with our tongues.
Proverbs 31:26 says that the "virtuous woman opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." Just think of the words you have spoken in the past week, the past day, today. Are they sweet? Are they wise? Are they kind?
Now, everybody in this room is being sweet and wise and kind, but I’m thinking more of the words that we speak when we’re in the four walls of our own homes and of the words we speak in our unguarded moments, or the words we speak when we get squeezed and circumstances don’t go as we had planned or hoped. Are they sweet words like a honeycomb?
Sometimes I find myself just, like, getting on a roll. It’s the babbling brook, it’s the gushing. Stuff’s coming out. It’s like, STOP! Step away from the crowd, if you can. Step into that inner sanctum of your spirit with the Lord, and just say, “Lord, I need you to control my tongue so that what comes out is sweetness; it’s kindness; it’s goodness; it’s blessing; it benefits and edifies others.”
Would you agree with me that the place where we most need that is with the people we’re closest to? It’s in our own homes. It’s in our work places. It’s the people we take for granted, the people where we feel free to let our hair down, so to speak, and just say whatever we think. Well, make sure what you’re thinking is God’s way, and then think before you say it. Oh what a difference it would make in our homes, in our relationships, if we would speak words that are sweet and kind and measured and gentle.
Some of the greatest damage in our churches, I have to say, is being done by women’s tongues. That doesn’t mean that men never damage things with their tongues, but our critical, gossiping, controlling, negative speaking tongues can create so much havoc in the body of Christ. I want to have a tongue that drips like a honeycomb.
“Honey and milk are under your tongue,” he says to her. Honey speaks of sweetness. It strengthens that which is weak. Milk builds up that which is young and tender. We talk about children needing milk to strengthen their bones. So, do our words build up those around us who are young and tender? Do they strengthen those who are weak and fragile?
You just see in this bride a picture of a woman who is not known for idle words or disparaging words or too many words, but sweet and edifying words.
We need to pray that God would make us sensitive to the power of our words to destroy or to heal and bind up those who are weak and wounded.
Well, he says in verse 10, “The scent of your perfumes is better than all spices." And in verse 11, “The fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.”
That takes us back to one of the themes of Song of Solomon which is this matter of fragrance. God is wanting us to live a fragrant life as the fragrance of Christ fills us and flows through us to others. I found myself in this study just having a greater desire to have a life that is fragrant, that makes other people think of Christ.
Today it’s not real “in” to be wearing perfumes because people have so many allergies, but when a woman walks in a room wearing perfume, you just know she’s there. It points to something. It makes you stop and take notice. I have to say, when I walk in a room, what fragrance is created? Is it a fragrance at all? Is it a stench? Does it bless others? Does it help? Does it minister grace?
I’ve been reading in a devotional book recently by Andrew Bonar, who is from a past generation. He wrote this in his journey, “I felt drawn out much to pray for that peculiar fragrance which believers have about them, who are very much in fellowship with God. It is like an aroma, unseen but felt.”
I want to have the kind of relationship with Christ that when I walk into a room, when I step into a conversation, when I have a meeting, when I’m behind the scenes, when I’m pushed, when I’m disappointed, when I’m frustrated, that what will come out is the fragrance and the aroma of Christ—unseen but very much felt.
Oh Lord, how we pray that You would make our lives the aroma, the fragrance of Christ to this world that desperately needs to know what He is like. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
Leslie: The truths we’ve been studying from the Song of Solomon will give perspective to everything you do today. Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been showing you how this book will inspire you to take the fragrance of Christ with you everywhere you go.
How do you start living that way? What are some of the next steps to take? Nancy has written some follow-up questions to today’s program. You’ll find them at www.ReviveOurHearts.com. Scroll to the end of today’s transcript.
Here’s another way to follow-up: Are you spending time with God in His Word every day? It’s a crucial way to stay in love with Him. A great place to start is Nancy’s workbook, A 30-Day Walk with God in the Psalms. Nancy will lead you through some of her favorite psalms. She’ll share some insights with you, and she’ll ask questions to help you understand what you’re reading and live it.
When you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount, we’ll send you A 30-Day Walk with God in the Psalms. Ask for the booklet when you call 1-800-569-5959 with your donation, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.
Well, if you try to bear good fruit for the Lord out of your own power, you’ll end up discouraged and exhausted. On Monday, Nancy Leigh DeMoss shows you how to be fruitful through God’s power. She’ll pick back up in the Song of Solomon all week. I hope you’ll join us for Revive Our Hearts.
Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.
All Scripture is taken from the ESV. Song of Songs references are from the NKJV.
Making It Personal
To get the most out of this verse-by-verse study of the Song of Songs, try to read through the entire book several times during the course of this series. You should be able to read this short book in approximately 15–20 minutes. This will give you a birds-eye view of the whole story. (This study is based on the New King James Version. You may want to print out the text at www.BibleGateway.com, so you can follow along.)
As you read, make a note of any observations or questions that come to mind. Also, record your thoughts in relation to these two questions:
- What insights does this book give you in relation to human love and marriage?
- What insights does this book give you regarding God’s love for His people and the relationship between Christ and His church?
Day 13 – Growing Love 3: You Are Fair My Love (Song of Songs 4:7–11)
- Come with me [to the mountaintops] (4:8). This is the Beloved’s invitation to his bride. What is Christ’s call to His Bride (see Colossians 3:1–3)? Have you taken your place in the heavenlies or are you groveling down here on the earth? Meditate on what it means to be risen with Christ, ascended with Christ, and reigning with Christ and what difference that should make in your life here and how on this earth.
- The “mountains” are not free from danger and difficulties (not yet, anyway!). There is a battle going on in the heavenly realm, and we are engaged in that struggle. What can give us courage to join Him in those difficult places and in the battle? How can we be assured of victory and protection? Consider Ephesians 6:10–18.
- You have ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse . . . . How fair is your love (4:9–10). What glimpse does this give us into how Christ views His Bride? Why is it such a wonder that our love for Him should bring delight to Him?
- The Bride responds to her Beloved: How much better than wine is your love, and the scent of your perfumes than all spices (8:10). Do you find His love deeply satisfying? Is there anything that is more precious to you or anyone whose love you desire more than the love of Christ?
- What is your purpose in life—the reason God created you—and how should that affect the way you view the circumstances of life?
- Your lips . . . drip as the honeycomb; honey are milk are under your tongue (4:11). Are your words more like the slow drip of honey or a babbling brook? Do they strengthen and build others up or weaken and tear them down? Ask God to make you more sensitive to the power of your words.