Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon the earth that I desire beside thee. (Psalm 73:25)
The desires of the godly are lonely affections. The psalmist has left increase in riches (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 the 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 this solitary love. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37). Thou shalt have none 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 those who seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy 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 what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. Do you feel the passion of the Apostle? The excellence of the knowledge of Christ as His sole affection and pursuit. Paul had been apprehended by Christ and he pursued the apprehension of Christ. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:7-8, 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 Cross abode ahead. Not much time remained to prepare the disciples for the glory which would be manifested in that hour. They would leave Him alone and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me (John 16:12). 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 … even so I do. Arise, let us go hence (John 14:31).
All of God’s gifts are subservient to the Gift of Himself. 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!