(John Fawcett, "Christ Precious")
"Yes, He is very precious to you who believe!"
1 Peter 2:7
If Christ is truly precious to us—we shall prefer Him above every other object; He will have the chief place in our affections. The love which a Christian has to his Savior, penetrates and possesses his heart. This distinguishes it from the pretended love of hypocrites, which is only in word, or in some external actions, while their hearts are full of sinful self-love; so that it may be said of them, "This people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me."
We may possibly delight in some objects of an inferior nature, as they contribute to our health, our ease, or our comfort. Our homes, our food, and our other temporal enjoyments are dear to us, because they minister to our comfort and convenience in the present life. But true love for Christ, does not allow any other object to hold the chief place in the heart. This chief place is for Jesus, whom we ought to love with supreme ardor. The choicest affections of our souls ought to be supremely fixed upon Him.
As it is impossible for any man to love an unknown object—so it cannot be expected that Christ should be supremely precious unto us, unless we know Him to be excellent and desirable, beyond whatever may be compared with Him. We shall not esteem Him above all things—if we have not elevated views of His transcendent worth. Our esteem of Him rises in proportion to the knowledge we have of Him. Godly men therefore ardently desire to increase in the knowledge of Him—that their affections may be more intensely fixed upon Him.
That love, which has but created things for its object, is degrading to the soul. It is a cleaving to that which can neither give happiness to our souls, nor repose to our minds. For to love any object ardently, is to seek our felicity in it, and to expect that it will answer our desires. It is to call upon it to fill that deep void which we feel in ourselves, and to imagine that it is capable of giving us the satisfaction we seek. It is to regard it as the resource of all our needs, the remedy of all the troubles which oppress us, and the source of all our happiness. Now, as it is God alone in whom we can find all these advantages, it is a debasing of the soul, it is idolatry to seek them in created objects! "I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ!" Philippians 3:8
If Christ is truly precious to us—we shall be induced to devote our souls and our bodies, our talents, our abilities and our faculties—as a living sacrifice to Him. To contemplate His adorable perfections will be our highest joy. We shall be ready to obey Him—in opposition to all the threats and the solicitations of men. We shall rely upon Him, though all outward appearances seem to be against us. We shall rejoice in Him, though we have nothing else to comfort us. If we enjoy health and plenty, friends and reputation, the Lord is still the object of our earnest desires and our supreme delight. "Whom have I in heaven but you? There is none upon earth that I desire besides you! As the deer pants for the water-brooks, so longs my soul after you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God!"