“Hungry Eyes” is a song recorded in 1987 and performed by American artist Eric Carmen and was featured in the film Dirty Dancing. The song was written by Franke Previte and John De Nicola. This movie was a sexually charged, provocative movie so you might be wondering how it made its way into a Christian newsletter. I hope by the time you are finished reading you will understand.
I have only made a few minor changes to the lyrics. Now I want you to imagine JESUS singing these words to you…..yes you……personally and intimately!
I’ve been meaning to tell you
I’ve got this feelin’ that won’t subside
I look at you and I fantasize
You’re mine tonight Now I’ve got you in my sights
With these hungry eyes
One look at you and I can’t disguise
I’ve got hungry eyes
I feel the magic between you and I
I wanna hold you so hear me out
I wanna show you what love’s all about
My child tonight
Now I’ve got you in my sights
Now I’ve got you in my sights
With these hungry eyes
Now did I take you by surprise
I need you to see
This love was meant to be
Obviously these words are the words of an individual intent on possessing his lover. Have you ever contemplated Jesus in this way? Jesus longs for us like a lover. He wants us. How are we responding to his advances?
Okay, where can I possibly be going with this? We all know God is love. We hear that so often and it should be obvious. The word love itself can mean so many different things and clearly there are different types of love.
The Four Loves is a book by C. S. Lewis which explores the nature of love from a Christian and philosophical perspective. The book reflects on these four types of love:
- Storge is affectionate love, such as the need-love of a child for a parent.
- Philia is the love felt for friends.
- Eros is romantic or sexual love, the love that desires to possess the beloved.
- Agape is self-sacrificing love, the love that desires the good of the beloved.
Perhaps we can all get our thoughts around God the Father being associated with storge love, or Jesus being associated with philia and agape love. The question is do we see God associated with eros love?
Over the years the Greek word eros has become so misaligned and associated with erotica or erotic movies that it has lost its original goodness. Because of this, it almost seems an offense to associate eros love with God. However, to understand the totality of God’s love, we must see the erotic part of His love too.
In his first encyclical, Pope Benedict chose to address this topic. In this document called Deus Caritas Est, Pope Benedict focuses on the most controversial and intense forms of love-eros and agape.
Since the Bible frequently refers to Christ as the Bridegroom perhaps we should ask ourselves if we see ourselves as the bride of Christ. The New Testament tells us that Christ, the Bridegroom, has sacrificially and lovingly chosen the church to be His bride (Eph 5:25-27). In Biblical times there was a betrothal period during which the bride and groom were separated until the wedding. Now until the second coming we as the bride of Christ are separated from our Bridegroom. Our calling during the betrothal period is to be faithful to Him (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:24). One day the church will be united with the Bridegroom. The wedding will occur, and, with it, the eternal union of Christ and His bride will be fulfilled. Rev 19:7-9; 21:1-2.
Until that wedding day, Jesus longs for us with the hungry eyes of a wanting lover. Imagine that, Jesus has a love desire for you like Romeo did for Juliet or Jack did for Rose in the movie Titanic. Just like Romeo and Jack, God is foolishly and irrationally in love with us!
These two kinds of love, eros and agape seem to be polar opposites. Essentially eros is a “desiring love” and agape is “self-giving love.” Jesus both desires us and gives to us. Pope Benedict, in his encyclical, shows that erotic love and God’s plan are not in opposition but profound cooperation. He then continues by explaining that eros and agape-ascending love and descending love-can never be completely separated. The more the two, in their different aspects, find a proper unity in the one reality of love, the more the true nature of love in general is realized.
So as to not allow this email to become an intellectual dissertation on the content of the Pope’s encyclical, suffice it to say there is much more in Deus Caritas Est, far beyond today’s scope and you can read the entire document by clicking here.
It turns out then that agape and eros are not opposed to one another but complementary forms of love. We tend to use the word “lover” to pertain only to human beings, and yet God is a “lover” of each one of us. He has a deep passion for us, all the passion of true love. God’s love for us is not some far off love of a distant Creator, but an urgent, personal, and hungry love of a passionate groom for his beautiful bride. Said differently, God is crazy in love with us.
Well known singer and song writer Rich Mullins once shared some interesting thoughts about the way God loves us. He said it this way: “We try to impress God with all the right words. It’s not easy to impress God the Almighty. We don’t have to impress him. He is already knocked out about us and loves us more than we can imagine.” Click here to here Rich say it himself.
Mullins in quoting Picasso once said: “Good taste is the enemy of great art.” He went on to explain: “Good taste has to do with being cultured andrefined, art has to do with being human. Humans in the Bible are not very refined, they are pretty goofy. God loves everybody, big deal, that don’t make me special, that just proves God ain’t got no taste and I don’t think he does. Thank God! God takes the junk of our lives and makes great art out of it. If He was cultured, if He was as civilized as most Christian people wish he was, he would be useless to Christianity, but God is a wild man and I hope that the closer in your life you encounter Him you better hold on for dear life, or better yet let go for dear life.”
Can you see God from Rich’s perspective? I can. Despite everything I have goofed up in my life, despite all of my sins, despite the many times I wandered off like the Prodigal son, God is crazy enough…madly enough to just keep loving me. He loves you that much too. He longs for us. He wants us!
As I think about how happy I am, knowing that he loves me so much and his mercy and forgiveness exceeds all of my sins and mistakes, my mind slips back to a 1970’s Christian song. The song is, It Only TakesA Spark. Here are just a few of the lyrics:
That’s how it is with God’s love
Once you’ve experienced it
You’ll want to sing
It’s fresh like spring
You’ll want to pass it on
I’ll shout it from the mountain top
I want the world to know
The Lord of Love
Has come to me
I want to pass it on
I am madly in love with Jesus Christ, and He is madly in love with me. My friends Jesus is madly in love with you too. He has Hungry Eyes for all of us. Allow His hungry eyes to devour you. The reality of His love is just so powerful, so joyous, so incredible, that I want to……..no…. no …..I HAVE TO PASS IT ON!
Join me and pass it on too. Tell someone this very day about your deep love for Jesus Christ and His hungry eyes and crazy, wild love for you!
John 15:13 tells us this:
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
Jesus has in deed laid down His life for you and for me. He has risen from the dead to open wide Heaven’s gates. Now He waits there anticipating our wedding day with Him. It is time for us to prepare for the wedding, and for that day when we can look into His eyes face to face. I’ll see you at the wedding!
Jesus, please never take your gaze off of me, devour me with your love, amen!