Throughout the sacred Scriptures we find that God has a burning passion to have a people of whom He can say: "He is Mine. She is Mine. They are Mine." This is a component of God's plan of redemption. Isaiah 43:1 confirms this. "...I have redeemed you - ransomed you by paying a price instead of leaving you captives; I have called you by your name, you are Mine." How it stirs our souls to realize that our Beloved God so wanted a people belonging to Him that He was willing to pay the ultimate price in order to secure humanity as His own possession. What an astounding position to acquire - this position of belonging to God. As we meditate on the words, "You are Mine," these words reach into the deepest recesses of our heart and create a wonderful sense of belonging. Without argument, to whom we belong makes all the difference in our lives. Having a conscious "knowing" that we belong to God gives to us a sense of security and assurance that the unbeliever does not enjoy.
For now, and throughout all eternity, we will be the desire and delight of God's heart. He will never change His mind about desiring us to belong to Him. Nevertheless, there is a fervent desire in His heart concerning our relationship with Him; an indescribable longing that goes far deeper than our name being recorded in His Book of Life. Our Beloved desires for us to be His Own exclusively, entirely, wholly. He yearns for us to give Him complete ownership that He might fully possess the entirety of our being (our mind, our soul, and our heart with all of its affections).
God's possession of us is with a definite, divine purpose. We read of His intent in Ephesians 3:19: "...that you may filled (through all your being) unto all the fullness of God - [that is] may have the richest measure of the divine Presence and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself!" In this scripture, we see the ultimate plan and purpose of God for the end of the ages. There will be, in this earth, a people belonging so wholly to God that the entirety of their being will be engulfed with God Himself. These people (those who have given themselves completely unto God) will be the Glorious Bride of the Lord Jesus Christ; those who have reached the full measure of the stature of Christ (Ephesians 4:13) and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself.
The Holy Spirit is calling the Bride of Christ, beseeching her to abandon herself completely to her Beloved. Becoming wholly His is the essence of our walk with God - it is the root, the basis, and the foundation of spiritual formation (the shaping of our entire being into Christ likeness). In light of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, how can we not be constrained and compelled to follow the path that leads us toward our quest of becoming wholly His?
Revelation in the Song of Solomon
The Song of Solomon gives to us a prophetic picture of the Bride of Christ and her relationship with her Heavenly Bridegroom. Within the story found in this Song, we find the progressive phases of the Shulamite's advance toward becoming wholly his. These stages of development are unveiled through three key expressions that unfold showing three levels of ascension that are essential for the Bride to arrive at a place of complete surrender to her Beloved. The three expressions found within this Song are:
(1) My beloved is mine, and I am his...(2:16 KJV)
(2) I am my beloved's and my beloved's is mine... (6:3 KJV)
(3) I am my beloved's and his desire is toward me. (7:10 KJV)
I will briefly comment on these three levels of ascension that are crucial in becoming wholly His. In the first expression of the Shulamite, we observe that she places self before her lover. She is in a state of being caught up with the benefits and blessings of the relationship she has with him. For example: his kisses (1:2), his good ointments (1:3), an encounter at the banqueting house (2:4). At this phase of her journey, her love for her bridegroom, although fervent, is immature.
As the Shulamite progresses toward becoming wholly his, her love matures. Once her love matures, she begins relinquishing more and more of herself (her will, her ways, her dreams, her ambitions) to her beloved. Her relinquishment is readily observed in her second expression of surrender. In this expression, we detect that this maiden has had a change of priorities. She places her lover before herself as seen in the phrase, "I am my beloveds and my beloved is mine." However, an element of self is still revealed in her declaration.
In her third and final declaration, we find her life is all about him. She has given herself in absolute abandonment to her beloved. She is wholly, irrevocably his!
These three expressions so vividly depict the three levels of development that have been set before us as we mature into a glorious Bride who is wholly abandoned to her Beloved. In the beginning stages of our life in God, we have a tendency to get caught up in all the blessings and benefits that God so lavishly bestows upon us. Sad to say, many Believers live their whole Christian life in this beginning level, concentrating on themselves and their needs and desires, thinking little of ascending into a deeper relationship with their God.
Next we find there are those believers who yield to the stirrings of the Holy Spirit and press for more of God. From the depths they cry out, "God, I want more of You." They begin to rearrange their priorities, and they give God a prominent place in their hearts and lives. In doing this, they ascend to a higher level in their walk with God. From their hearts they can say, "I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine". This is a wonderful place to be, but there is yet a higher level - a place that Jesus passionately longs for His Bride to ascend unto.
This higher level is for those who cannot, who will not be satisfied until they come to a place of abandoning themselves wholly, completely unto God. The cry of their heart is, "God, I want You to have all of me. I want to be irrevocably Yours!"
Whether we have reached this stage in our spiritual growth or not, I can assure you that there is a "groan" in every Believer to come into this place with God. Deep within us is a longing for completion in God and a consummation of our relationship with Him. Giving ourselves wholly unto God is the highest place we can attain in God. This is the place our Heavenly Bridegroom is yearning for His Bride to ascend unto.
Granted, this place of abandonment is not easily attained, for it demands much sacrifice and struggle. We will be required to lay our lives on the altar, forsaking all that we tenaciously hold on to and the things we consider dear that are hampering our yielding to God. This is a superior level of life in comparison to that which most believers are presently participating in. The message of the crucified life, abandonment, and sacrifice seems to be a lost message today. Nevertheless, it is the message of the deeper life (and true blessings) to which we are being summoned; the message which the Bride must fully embrace in order to ascend to greater heights in her relationship with her God.
The Steep Pathway
In Song of Solomon 2:14 we read these words: "O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret place of the steep pathway..." (NAS) These words became etched on my heart a few years ago as one of the most supernatural occurrences that I have ever experienced took place. I was going through a hard place - things were transpiring that I didn't understand. I was frustrated and discouraged. One Friday during this time, as I was cleaning my house, I emptied into my kitchen trash can the litter from my office wastepaper basket which, among other things, contained papers of old lesson notes I had torn into tiny pieces. The next day I happened to notice a small piece of paper lying near my kitchen trash can. I picked it up and on it, I found the words "steep pathway." I knew this phrase came from Song of Solomon, and I knew what this phrase was all about. I sensed immediately that God was using the words on this torn piece of paper to reveal to me that the circumstance I was going through was for my good and would ultimately advance me in my quest toward becoming wholly His.
The path that leads us to the place of becoming wholly His is steep, for this path consists of sacrifice, abandonment, and surrender of all that holds us back from completely abandoning ourselves unto God. Abandonment is a matter of supreme importance in our quest for spiritual progress and maturity. Our Beloved will never be satisfied with a partial surrender; He yearns for all of us! He longs for the entirety of our being to be wholly His. He seeks for our will to become merged into His will; fully in concert with His will. The true measure of our development in God (spiritual formation and growth) is not about how much we get of God, but rather about how much of us that God gets!
Our ascent in spiritual development is taken one step at a time through divinely arranged circumstances... circumstances that requires a surrendering of ourselves (our will, way, rights, desires, plans, pursuits, etc.) unto God. This is God's method for spiritual growth. If we are sincere in our quest to become wholly His, surrendering (relinquishment) becomes the story of our life. Our sacrifices are much more precious to God than our successes. It's our surrender and sacrifices that move the heart of God! In our humanness, we have the tendency to think that when we have accomplished something significant or outstanding for the Kingdom of God that God is well-pleased (He is), but He is not nearly as affected as He is when we surrender ourselves in total abandonment to Him. Always bear in mind, it is not great talent or abilities that God is searching for; it is yielded vessels that have abandoned themselves wholly unto God.
When we enter eternity and stand before God, there will be only one standard for our success on earth. It will not be what we achieved or attained in this life. The standard of measure that we will be judged by will be all about our abandonment to God. Did we surrender our wills totally to Him and become wholly His?
Let me assure you, as you are ascending the steep pathway of surrender, the gloriousness of becoming wholly His is worth every step!
The Coming Glory
Isaiah 43 Ephesians 4 Song of Solomon 1