We have been making excuses ever since Adam & Eve blamed the devil and each other when they rebelled against God. Even after we come to Jesus, we have plenty of excuses why we don’t move closer to Him in intimacy. Our culture has made famous the adages, “Not tonight dear; I have a headache” and “I’m sorry darling; I’m just really tired,” but did you know there is something similar to this kind of thing in the Bible? Check out the following passage:
“I slept, but my heart was awake,
when I heard my lover knocking and calling:
‘Open to me, my treasure, my darling,
my dove, my perfect one.
My head is drenched with dew,
my hair with the dampness of the night.’”
“But I responded,
‘I have taken off my robe.
Should I get dressed again?
I have washed my feet.
Should I get them soiled?’” (Song of Solomon 5:2, 3 NLT)
Reading this passage makes me think of the many times I hear the Lord speaking to my heart and drawing me near, inviting me to spend time in communion with him, but I offer a weak excuse, and turn to follow my own desire. I don’t know about you, but I’m so messed up that I’ll use even “good” things as an excuse to not spend that intimate time with the Lord like, “Well Lord, I need to prepare this sermon” or “Lord, I really need to study” or “Lord, I’ll catch you later; brother so and so needs my help.” There are countless others, but these are the first that come to mind. Well, these things are good things, but I hear Jesus saying, “That can wait; come to ME.”
We do the same things in our churches. Jesus makes an invitation for us to come closer and go deeper, but that would mean having to get a little “dirty” and we’ve already “taken off our robes and washed our feet.”
We say, “Lord, we’re all good here. Things are going just fine; I’m not sure how the congregation would respond to what you’re asking here. We’re not really comfortable with emotional displays, and God forbid if someone were to speak in tongues or shout hallelujah or something like that.”
In our hearts we know that the Spirit is speaking to us about how HE wants us to “do church,” but we are content with business as usual, and decide on hiring consultants and demographers to tell us how to grow instead of opening up to Jesus and allowing him to simply have his way.
Sadly, we as individuals and churches run the risk of ending up like the bride in our passage above. Later on, in the same section we read,
“My lover tried to unlatch the door,
and my heart thrilled within me.
I jumped up to open the door for my love,
and my hands dripped with perfume.
My fingers dripped with lovely myrrh
as I pulled back the bolt.
I opened to my lover,
but he was gone!
My heart sank.
I searched for him
but could not find him anywhere.
I called to him,
but there was no reply.”
After giving her excuse as to why she could not open up to her lover, she was moved and thought the better of it; however, the groom had gone. Let’s pray that God will give us grace to respond to his wooing with an immediate, “Lord, have your way with me.”