These days you can get an instant valuation on almost everything you own. Yet such reports will never list the personal value you place on them. Some of our possessions are valuable to us personally while others are extremely valuable or precious. Christ is infinitely precious in Himself, but He must also be infinitely precious to us personally. If He is not we do not have true faith. “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious” (1 Peter 2:7). We need to know unmistakably whether Christ is precious to us.
As Andrew Gray explains, true faith values Christ. “Faith is that grace that gives a Christian a most broad and comprehensive sight of Christ. It draws aside the veil off the face of Christ, and presents His beauty to the soul”. “Faith is that grace by which a Christian keeps most communion and fellowship with God: ‘That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith’ (Ephesians 3:17)”. Faith also “describes and makes Christ precious to the soul. It presents to you the absolute necessity of embracing Jesus Christ, and that makes Christ precious to the soul”. We can speak much about Christ and loving the Saviour but is He truly precious to us? Gray gives us 8 different ways by which we may know for sure.
1. If you have a Desire for Holiness.
Those to whom Christ is precious have a desire for His image. That is, they will have a desire after holiness. “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). O Christians, do you not desire to bear the image of the second Adam as you have borne the image of the first (see 1 Corinthians 15:49)?
2. If you have a Desire to make Constant Use of Christ.
Those to whom Christ is precious will desire to make continual and constant use of Christ. They will make use of Him for:
- justification: that they may be purged and have the precious features of Christ drawn on them;
- wisdom: that they may be directed aright through this wilderness;
- redemption: that they may be set free from their spiritual enemies. O Christians, dare you ever say that an idol ever assaulted you that you did not embrace? O! I fear there are many that may acknowledge that this is true.
3. If you have a Desire for Greater Fellowship and Communion with God.
Those to whom Christ is precious have a desire after more fellowship and communion with God. “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth” (Song of Solomon 1:2). “Draw me” (Song of Solomon 1;4). Do you think that all absence from Christ (no matter how short) is like an eternity? If so, this is evidence that Christ is precious unto you.
4. If you have a Desire for Christ’s Presence.
They are exceedingly burdened during Christ’s absence and withdrawing from them. The bride sought Him whom her soul loved; she sought Him, but she found Him not. She continued seeking until she found Him (Song of Solomon 3:1-3). The bride expressed her respect to Christ in these three things:
(a) A Christian’s anxiety is dissatisfied with any other than Christ. Mary Magdalene undervalued the angels, “they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him” (John 20:13). She, as it were, turned her back on the angels because there was none for her but Christ. The happiness of a Christian lies in these words: “they have taken away my Lord“.
(b) A Christian’s anxiety expresses itself in a dissatisfaction with all graces without Christ. This is clear in Song of Solomon 3:1-3. There she had the grace of faith, love, diligence, patience and submission; yet notwithstanding this, the one that she wishes for is absent.
(c) A Christian’s anxiety expresses itself in a low esteem of all things that come short of Christ. “In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; my sore ran in the night, and ceased not; my soul refused to be comforted” (Psalm 77:3)
5. If you have a Desire to Understand Christ’s Dealings with You.
Those to whom Christ is precious are spiritually observant. They record Christ’s dealings with them as far as they can when He has withdrawn His presence. When He is present they take special notice, and of when they are permitted to taste of the apples of the tree of life.
6. If you have a Desire to Avoid Offending Christ.
Those to whom Christ is precious will be, to a greater or lesser extent, grieved for grieving and offending Him. I fear that I must say to the shame of most of us that sin was never a burden to us. O Christians! Can Christ be precious to you and yet you do not hesitate to offend Him?
7. If you have a Desire to give Greater Value to Fellowship with Christ.
Those to whom Christ is precious will have a high esteem for union and fellowship with Christ. What do the hearts of Christians run after most? I fear it is not after Christ. There are some whose hearts are upon the world; there are others whose hearts are upon the pleasures of the world; there are some whose hearts are upon the applause of the world; and there are others whose hearts are on the covetousness of the things of the world (Ezekiel 33:31). O, therefore, strive to embrace Jesus Christ.
The devil will let you give all your members to Jesus Christ but he says, “Give me your heart”. He will let you give your eyes, ears, hands, and feet to Christ but he says, “Give me your heart”. There are three sorts of persons that are not right in heart.
(a) Those with a divided heart. The devil certainly has the hearts of such who are “double-minded” (James 4:8).
(b) Those whose hearts are given entirely to the devil. There are some whose hearts are not divided, namely, atheists. This is clear from Hosea 4:17, “Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone”; or, as the word literally means, he is “married to his idols”. Surely Christ is not precious to someone like this. O Christians! Does the world not have your first thoughts when you rise in the morning and your last thoughts when you go to bed at night? Thus, I fear our idols always have more of our thoughts than Christ.
(c) Those whose hearts are wrestling against their predominant lusts but are falling down under them. They are not wrestling in the right way. I may say, however, that there are not many such amongst us whose main concern is to wrestle against the devil and his temptations.
8. If you have a Desire for the Duties that Obtain Fellowship with God.
Those to whom Christ is precious will have some delight in the duties that obtain communion and fellowship with God. The Bride seeks Christ from a principle of delight, faith and necessity (Song of Solomon 3:1). O Christians, why do you go to prayer like this? I think most of us go to prayer only from a principle of satisfying our natural conscience. Someone that has real delight in duty has a low estimation and account of all things that come short of Christ. They have a high esteem of Christ Himself only.