Do you remember what it was like to fall in love? I was smitten with Cheri after our first date to an Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concert at school. She was drop dead gorgeous in her blue dress and we had a great evening together. I remember walking with her back to her dorm after the concert and watching her as she went inside. I thought, “Wow, I hope she enjoyed being with me as much as I enjoyed being with her.” Cheri thought, “This will never work. If I married him, my name would rhyme!” That was just the beginning of our four-year dating relationship. We were attracted to each other right away, and if you had asked me at the time, I would have told you I fell in love with her that night. But there is a difference between attraction and love.
A love relationship requires time to grow. As we spent time together, we got to know each other. We learned of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We talked about our dreams and goals and ambitions. We listened to each other as we faced various challenges with school, roommates, friends and family. We spent as much time together as we could. As we learned more about each other, we learned to love each other. Our relationship moved from one of attraction to a love relationship.
Do you remember when you first met Jesus? He loved you before you knew him, before you were even born. But how much did you love him when you first met him? A love relationship takes time and effort. I often feel like I don’t love him enough, and I don’t think that’s uncommon. He allows us to feel his presence and he speaks to us through the Bible. But we can’t see him or touch him, and most of us have never heard his audible voice. So how do we grow into a full love relationship with him?
We can spend time reading the Bible and praying. We can demonstrate love to others and follow his commandments. These things will help us to love Jesus as we get to know him more, and as he allows us to see him work through us. But in order to have a deep, abiding love relationship with Jesus, we need his help. Our ability to love him is limited by our humanity. But if we ask him to teach us to love him, he will work in our hearts and draw us to himself.
“Jesus, I need to give myself up. I am not strong enough to love You and walk with You on my own. I can’t do it, and I need You. I need you deeply and desperately. I believe You are worth it, that You are better than anything else I could have in this life or the next. I want You. And when I don’t, I want to want You. Be all in me. Take all of me. Have Your way with me.” Frances Chan, Crazy Love