He’s Bigger Than Your “God-Shaped Hole”

If you scanned through your local radio stations (or perhaps shuffled through a friend’s playlist), how long do you think it would take you to figure out whether a song you’ve never heard is a new worship ballad or the latest from America’s next pop idol? Both might contain lyrics like, 

I’m desperate for you . . . 
I’m lost without you . . . 
Hold me close . . . 
Surround me with your love . . . 
I want to know you . . . 
I want to feel your touch . . . 

With lyrics like these, it’s no wonder my generation was credited with inventing the “Jesus is my boyfriend” genre of Christian music. What’s behind our tendency to look at Jesus in that mushy, gushy, “best boyfriend ever” sort of way? 

The temptation is there for all of us. Single women are (rightly) told that they don’t need a boyfriend to be fulfilled and whole. “You’ve got Jesus,” we say. “Go to Him when you feel lonely.” But does our over-simplified advice compel you to simply try to squeeze Jesus into the boyfriend-shaped hole in your heart or to look to the excellencies of the Savior who wants to not only fill your heart, but overhaul it completely? 

We married women are not immune. Having found our “complement,” we do a little word jumble, lose a couple of letters, and expect him to “complete” us. Shouldn’t he know what I’m thinking well enough to discern my thoughts and intentions? Shouldn’t he be by my side whenever I need him? Listen to my problems? Shouldn’t he speak my love language? Treat me like a precious jewel (and maybe buy me a few while he’s at it)? Shouldn’t his goal be to support me in being happy, healthy, and whole?

Before we’re married, we often expect Jesus to take the place of a boyfriend: once we’re married, we expect our husband to take on the attributes of God. In either case, we get it wrong: Jesus is not the perfect boyfriend; He is the preeminent Bridegroom.

Paul’s Ballad to the Bridegroom

We tend to ride the pendulum of extremes. Christians through the centuries have undoubtedly swung too far in both directions on the spectrum of fearing an awesome and transcendent God and clinging to the “one-of-us-ness” of His humanity as if it, in itself, could save us. But if we do err on one side or the other, it’s probably that we have too low a view of God. 

There was no doubt that the apostle Paul loved Jesus deeply. Intimately. “Who can separate us,” He said, “from the love of Christ? Can affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” (Rom. 8:35). 

“No,” was his resounding answer, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37). 

Yet when Paul wrote a “ballad” about the Savior, his focus was not on those things that make Christ like us, but on those attributes that are entirely “other.” Let’s press play on Colossians 1:15–23 (one of my favorite passages of Scripture) to hear Paul’s tribute to his Lord:

He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
For everything was created by him,
in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions
or rulers or authorities—
all things have been created through him and for him.
He is before all things,
and by him all things hold together.
He is also the head of the body, the church;
he is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead,
so that he might come to have
first place in everything.
For God was pleased to have
all his fullness dwell in him,
and through him to reconcile
everything to himself,
whether things on earth or things in heaven,
by making peace
through his blood, shed on the cross.

Pure poetry . . . yet there’s no mistaking King Jesus with the subject of a sappy love song. 

3 Things We Miss When We Miss This Jesus

When we see Jesus as merely the one who fills up the empty spaces in our lives, or who makes up for the inadequacy of our human relationships, or as the one with whom we have a neatly penciled-in standing appointment for an hour on Sunday morning . . . or worse, when we see Him as just a man (a perfect man, even), we miss so much of Him. 

Paul gives some examples in Colossians 1.

1. Jesus is not just creative; He is the Creator and Sustainer of it all (vv. 15–17). 

Because we’re created in His image, humans receive a unique gift among created beings: the ability to be creative like Him. But Jesus is not just creative, He’s the Creator, and it’s from Him, to Him, and through Him that all things are created (Rom. 11:36). When we talk to Jesus, we’re talking to the one who, by His good pleasure, keeps every planet spinning in space and every atom held together by His powerful hand. 

2. Jesus is not just your completer; He is your redeemer (vv. 18–20). 

Jesus was not an afterthought—a bandage to stick on your garden-of-Eden-variety sin. He has eternally existed and was always meant to be “the head of the body, the church” (v. 18). He is not just the solution for our sin but the one in whom “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell” (v. 19). And because all that God is dwells in Him, we can have peace with God through His sacrifice. Praise God—we’ve been redeemed. 

3. Jesus doesn’t just see you; He allows you to be seen by God through His righteousness (vv. 21–23). 

We all want to be seen. We all want to be known. Contrary to what Satan and the world would have us believe, the problem between us and God is not that he doesn’t see us but that He does! He knows every unsavory sin, every imperfect intention, every malicious motive. Paul says it this way: “Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds as expressed in your evil actions. But now he has reconciled you by his physical body through his death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before him” (vv. 21–22). 

Our response to this precious gift is found in verse 23: “Remain grounded and steadfast in the faith and . . . not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard.” Like Paul, we are to find our freedom in becoming servants of the gospel of Jesus Christ (v. 23).

More Than . . . 

I cannot consider this passage—and the Savior who is its subject—without thinking about the words of Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth in Incomparable: 50 Days with Jesus. “Whatever you think of Jesus, He is more.” 

More than the perfect boyfriend. More than the prize husband. More than a fix for the “hole” in your heart or the fulfillment of all your hopes and desires. 

Yes—be desperate for Him. Sing about how lost you are without Him, but remember that He is more. Incomparably more.

When you support Revive Our Hearts with your gift of any amount today, we’ll gladly send you a copy of Incomparable: 50 Days with Jesus, the newest book by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. As a special bonus, we’ll also send you our exclusive Incomparable reading guide, which will lead you through the book in the days leading up to and following Resurrection Sunday. Through fifty readings on the life, work, and words of Christ, you’ll begin to see Him as He truly is: incomparable.

About the Author

Laura Elliott

Laura Elliott

Born and raised in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Laura Elliott and her husband, Michael, now call Minnesota home. Laura is the mother of five sons and one daughter and serves as the marketing content manager for Revive Our Hearts. In … read more …

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