Enjoy. It feels like such a difficult word. A friend once said to me that I need to learn how to (take a break and) enjoy.

Maybe my friend was right.

Maybe I need to learn how to enjoy just spending time basking under the light of joy.

Maybe that’s why, this 2019, I set one of my two yearly goals as this: To delight in the LORD and enjoy Christ.

Excavating the Old in 2019

Two months after the start of 2019 I strangely had the desire to study the Old Testament books, most especially the select books that I had been neglecting — This is an area that I should brush up on. I know the Old Testament books by title but I never was able to get through the first few books apart from the Psalms and Proverbs and a few passages that are usually taken out of context.

This time I studied the books in reversed order. And then I made a discovery! There’s this book that despite sticking out like a sore thumb I never had the interest to read: The Song of Solomon.

At first glance the book looked perfect for my goal: It talks about the joy of love, albeit romantically. And it explores the wondrous feelings of the heart.

Maybe this book will teach me how I can better enjoy Christ.

The Song of Solomon is a poetic book that is 8 chapters long. And here are my key takeaways from my discovery:

1. Made for one another.

The book tells a tale of two lovers: A Shulamite woman and her beloved, a shepherd/king. From the king’s eye, the woman stands out among the rest. He described her with many rich words spanning across almost all the chapters of the book, an exuberant expression of his admiration of her.

It stands the same for the woman, he was described with many rich words. Their admiration of each other spans the entire book. It is of no argument that they revered each other. It almost seems like they had no other else.

2. Seeking, and not finding, yet still seeking.

Yet despite of seemingly made for one another, the book did not shy away from exposing their struggles. The book tells a pattern of seeking, not finding, but still seeking (Chapters 3 and 5). Chapter 5 climaxes to this point where the woman goes out to search for his king but only to be beaten down by the city guards. Yet despite of this beatdown, the very first words that comes out of her lips are this: “If you find my beloved, tell him that I am sick with love.

Her mind is consumed with the thought of him and her heart consumed with his person.

3. Intensity of love.

It is also quite clear how the book is filled to the brim with passion and feelings. The intensity of their love is almost like the centerpoint of this book. The book is filled with all these passionate and creative expressions of their love for one another.

There are two points that stand out to me however: First, how the king describes the woman as a “sister”. Second, how the woman has this habit of using the phrase “Sick with love.”

I can wonder. Maybe the word “sister” denotes the woman as being a “sister in the faith”. Maybe this was written to signify the importance of constraining romantic love and marriage to fellow believers. To the second point, maybe this phrase was used to denote that the signs of love possibly causes symptoms of “being sick”, where the normal things give its way for the abnormal.

Christ and the Church

The book may have been included in the Bible canon to describe a Biblical model for the husband and wife. To that I agree, but if I may add also, to my eyes, it also paints a picture of Christ and his Church.

I can see the book as describing this relationship: Christ as the king/shepherd who loves his church; And the church, being in a fallen world, experiences this struggle of seeking the LORD Jesus Christ.

Sin is this thing that keeps our hearts from seeing the LORD.

But just like the bride, we are called to have our heart unswervingly seek him still.

To persevere and not give up.

To have our thoughts consumed by the wondrous overwhelming thought of Him.

And in devotion and passion, to have our hearts stirred up by Him.

“I find to this day seven abominations in my heart:

  1. Inclination to unbelief;
  2. Forgetfulness of the love and mercy that Christ manifest;
  3. A leaning to the works of the law;
  4. Wanderings and coldness in prayer;
  5. Forgetfulness in prayer;
  6. Prone to murmur when I have no more and yet ready to abuse what I have;
  7. I can do none of the things which God commands me, while on the other hand my sinful nature springs effortlessly;

These things I continually see and feel. And because of these I am in constant suffering. Yet to the wisdom of God, they are for my own good:

  1. My inclination to unbelief: They make me abhor myself;
  2. My forgetfulness of Christ’s love and mercy: They keep me from trusting my heart;
  3. My leaning to works: They convince me of the insufficiency of all inherent righteousness;
  4. My coldness in prayer: They show me the necessity of flying to Jesus;
  5. My forgetfulness in prayer: They press me to pray unto God;
  6. My discontentment when in need and my irresponsibility when in plenty: They show me the need I have to be alert and be sober;
  7. My incompetence towards the things of God: It provokes me to pray unto God, through Christ, to help me, and carry me through this world.”

 

A paraphrasing from John Bunyan, taken from “Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners”

I’ve had my share of weird experience with girls.

I’ve had a random girl ask me my number, a girl suddenly giving me her number, girls asking me for private piano lessons, girls confessing to me, and other weird things that make me freeze on the spot and blush hot red.

I’m not handsome to many’s standards. I have a weird shape of a head. My height is only decent. My body type isn’t muscular. And I’m not at all charismatic or eloquent with words. I think I just have my weird cool character and my undeserved talents. I perform on stages. I play various musical instruments. I compose. I draw. I play and build things with technology. And I look smart (mainly because of how un-talkative I am).

And thanks to this, I seem to give off an attractive enigmatic aura to the people who’d have enough time with me.

And I enjoy knowing this.

 

To be liked by many, or to be loved by a few.

 

 

I enjoy basking under the spotlight of being liked.

Though flirting is a game that always has me at the oblivious side, but in the end I like it knowing that someone’s into me.

It strokes my inflated ego.

It gives me super-confidence.

It makes me feel that I am special.

My selfish, egocentric, insensitive self enjoys the reassurance.

But recounting all of these, I begin to ask, “What do these things matter? What good is it for people to like me when I myself am detached? What does it matter if I am liked by many, yet I cannot love someone the way I want to love someone?”

Just like every other single guy out there, I too want a significant other.

 

To be liked by many, or to be loved by a few.

 

 

This is then where I begin to ask myself,

“Why do I want to have a girlfriend?”

It’s not like that having a girlfriend will save me from the loneliness from this world.

It’s not like having a human lover will fill the vast expansive limitless space within my heart.

And it’s not like human love, sex, or marriage, is the ultimate goal of life.

 

It’s not.

 

You may respond, “But God said that it is not good for a man to be alone.”

Yet even before God created woman as our partner (and even before Our Fall), He created something first for us. A life; A purpose; Work.

 

Work to rule over the other creations of the earth.

Work to take care and to cultivate the land.

Work to love and serve one another.

Work to strive for justice and righteousness.

Work to have the Gospel told.

 

To enjoy Christ. To glorify God.

 

 

This is then where I stop to care.

 

To be liked by many, or to be loved by a few.