In the Song of Songs, the Bride Groom, Jesus, woos His fair maiden (the Bride of Christ) confessing to her His love and affirming the beauty that He sees in her—despite her weakness. In Song of Song 4, the bride professing to her lover that she will get up and go her way to the mountain of Myrrh (symbolizing suffering) and the hill of Frankincense (symbolizing prayer).
After this confessing the Groom affirms her and His love for her saying, “You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” (Song of Songs 4:7 ESV) He declares his pleasure over her even though she has not departed. He concluded His affirmation with a invitation and a charge—“Come with me from Lebanon, my bride; come with me from Lebanon. Depart from the peak of Amana, from the peak of Senir and Hermon, from the dens of lions, from the mountains of leopards.” (Song of Songs 4:8 ESV)
Jesus, in short, is calling the bride out of the self-centric, inward focus of love, and is calling her upwards and outward to run with him on the mountain peeks, the stronghold, the dangerous places, the rugged places of life. He is not content to allow the bride to stay in her bedroom, a place of safety and comfort, but wants her to grow in trust with him through conquering strong holds.
If you read the Song of Songs, you will find that, in fact, she stays in her place of comfort and does not arise and does not go with him when he comes knocking in chapter 5. The result, he withdraws His presence from her, drawing her outward from her immature, introspective love. He is transforming her perspective from, “My beloved is mine, and I am his;” (Song of Songs 2:16 ESV) into “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me.” (Song of Songs 7:10 ESV)
This may seem like a subtle shift, but she grows from being self-centered in her love laying ownership upon the Groom, who is Christ, as if He exists to merely fulfill her desires—into the realization that Christ is the center and she, representing the Bride of Christ—the Church, is placed here to fulfill His desires, though obedience, love, and worship. Likewise, Christ is calling us, the church, of a self centric gospel where our hearts and needs are coddled in comfort, into a Christ-Centric gospel where His desires reign preeminent in our heart and through our actions.
God’s love always sustains and gives strength—yet we are not the focal point. Jesus Christ is the focal point of all the universe and history. We would be wrong in assuming He desires us to merely sit and soak in His love for eternity in the comfort of our bedrooms. He calls us to something much greater.
God’s love always sustains and gives strength—yet we are not the focal point. Jesus Christ is the focal point of all the universe and history. We would be wrong in assuming He desires us to merely sit and soak in His love for eternity in the comfort of our bedrooms. He calls us to something much greater. He calls us out of the bedroom’s of our self-preservation to leap, run, and dance with Him on mountains, past the caves of lions and leopards to experience an exhilarating kind of love that make Christ, and His strength and His agenda the center—not our weak and fragile, insecure finicky hearts.
He is calling us to empty fields to prove to us His love, and free us by his Strength. He is calling us so that He might become the center of our trust. Jesus is awakening and wooing each of us with His love—and that very same love will sear our hearts with a wound for those who have never heard of His love.
If we have not been compelled to sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the sake of the lost, then I would dare to say we have a self-centric, immature understanding and revelation of God and His love. After all, Jesus declares in John 15:12-13, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his live for his friends.”
Love is expressed through sacrifice. If we love God we will love one another. If we love one another we will lay down our life for each other. If we love Christ we will deny ourselves and follow Christ—no matter the cost. The immeasurable love of Christ compels us to Go to the empty fields, sustains us in the face of lions, and sets us free from self on the mountain tops of suffering.
The love of Christ demands obedience to fulfilling the Great Commission by leaving the comfort zones and following Christ to the unreached corners of the earth, in order to fulfill the desires of our bridegroom and our King.