This morning I woke up about 3 a.m. with the words to an old hymn on my heart. It’s not even in the newer hymn book we use at my church. I haven’t heard it in a long, long time. I guess God wanted me to do some pondering about the message behind the words this morning so I never went back to sleep.
When God speaks, I want to listen, no matter what time of day it is. So this morning I cherished these words:
“Ev’ry day with Jesus, Is sweeter than the day before;
Ev’ry day with Jesus, I love Him more and more.
Jesus saves and keeps me, And He’s the One I’m living for;
Ev’ry day with Jesus, Is sweeter than the day before.” (Music and lyrics by Robert C. and Wendell P. Loveless, 1936)
I love to think of Jesus as sweet. I pray Sweet Jesus. I cry out to Sweet Jesus in moments of tenderness and compassion and I sometimes proclaim Sweet Jesus! in my zeal and excitement.
Sweet is an adjective that means: 1. having the pleasant taste characteristic of sugar or honey; not salty, sour, or bitter 2. pleasing in general; delightful.
How fitting. How appropriate. How…sweet.
Life sometimes loses its flavor. Life is sometimes sour. Sometimes it’s even bitter. Yuck.
When I want to spit the bitterness of life out of my mouth I’m so glad I have Jesus to put the sweetness back in. Like honey…
“How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalm 119:103
Several times in Scripture the Word of God is referred to as sweet and the first chapter of John’s Gospel tells us Jesus is the Word made flesh. I can’t tell you how often I’ve gone to the Word when life has handed me lemons and made some of the sweetest lemonade ever! And I don’t even like lemonade. Seriously. Never have cared for it. But Jesus has a way of taking the sour out of a lemonade life.
Can anything be sweeter than honey? Especially when it’s fresh off the comb.
Of course, you wouldn’t catch me trying to steal a bee’s honey. I don’t know anything about bees, but I know people who keep hives and cultivate honey. I’ve even heard of bee charmers. Did you know that most of the references to honey in Scripture are toward wild honey? It was a luxury and used for trading. In fact, the Promised Land was referred to as “the land flowing with milk and honey.” It was a place where God’s goodness abounded. Where the sweetness of His presence would be experienced in Israel’s prosperity, provision, and protection, as long as they depended upon Him and Him alone.
Hmmmmmm….the sweetness of God’s presence.
The sweetness of Jesus. His presence, His Spirit within me. So why can’t I be more sweet?
I want to be sweet. I want to be good. I want to be like Jesus. But sometimes I’m not. The enemy comes and steals my sweetness. Sometimes bitterness creeps in. Oh, how I need the Bee Charmer to extract that bitterness and replace it with pure honey. Plain and simple. I need to taste and see God’s goodness.
“O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
O fear the Lord, you His saints:
For to those who fear Him there is no want.
The young lions do lack and suffer hunger;
But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.” Psalm 34:8-10
God is good. Yes. And Jesus is sweet. Any bitterness I find taking root in me I need to put away by turning to Jesus. He’s like a Bee Charmer. He can extract the bad and cultivate all His goodness in me when I let Him so that what comes out is…well…sweet…sweeter…sweetest.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
Bitterness is a root that causes all kinds of trouble. It not only tastes bad, it looks bad. It acts bad. It spreads badly. Like a cancer. It eats me up inside. It’s like lemonade with no sugar. It kills the sweetness of Jesus.
And that breaks my heart.
I want the root of kindness and tenderness to well up like an underground spring inside of me. I want forgiveness to grow and blossom and bear fruit for the Kingdom. Because this is what’s good. This is what’s right. This is what’s sweet.
And you know? The longer I walk with Jesus, the sweeter He grows within me. Every day can be full of flavor, flowing with grace, and flourishing with promise. Every day with Jesus it’s possible to love Him more and more.