Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. (Psalm 73:25)
The desires of the godly are lonely affections. The psalmist has left those who increase in wealth (vs. 12) and the prosperity of the wicked (vs. 3) for the inheritance of Christ. This is what is meant in the phrase “lonely affections.” Solitary passions are consuming desires. A single delight annihilates usurpers to the throne of a believer’s heart. His ultimate love and sole affection is the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament speaks of such solitary love. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37). You shall have no other gods before Me (Deuteronomy 5:7). Divine love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10b). There is salvation to those who love Christ (Psalm 145:20; Romans 8:28). Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; let those who love Your salvation say continually, “The Lord be magnified!” (Psalm 40:16). The Old Testament saint drank deeply of the lonely affections of those who are clean in heart. Blessed is the man who has such loneliness!
The New Testament speaks of this solitary, consuming desire. The Apostle commends us to follow his example. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:7-8). Do you feel the passion of the Apostle? The excellence of the knowledge of Christ is His sole affection and pursuit. Christ had laid hold of Paul. Paul pursued laying hold of Christ. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14). The loneliness of this worthy affection, this one thing I do, is the infinite reward of God in Christ Jesus.
At the climatic battle between Goodness and evil, the Son of God, Jesus Christ rested upon His sole love and affection. He left the Upper Room. The Father had given commandment to do thus. The lonely place of the crucifixion resided before Him. Not much time remained to prepare the disciples for the glory that would be manifested in that hour. They would leave Him alone and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me (John 16:32). The imputation of our sin would separate Jesus from His Father. Loneliness, shame, and condemnation surrounded Him. What would this communicate? His love. But that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here (John 14:31).
All of God’s gifts are subservient to the Gift of the Giver. The psalmist glanced into the heavens – no one but Christ I desire! The psalmist gazed at the corruptible glories upon the earth – nothing but Christ I desire! His lonely, yet glorious delight was an ever-present, radiant communion with God and the possession of Christ Jesus, the Lord!