How did you learn to love Jesus after you got saved? It’s something that is bothering me because I want to love Him with every part of my being.
My friend: You know why I think so many Christians are tired?
Because they’re being told things like this. Love Jesus with every part of your being.
I understand what this means and it has pretty good intentions, but it’s really dang hard to love something with our entire being all the time. I don’t even know how to measure this sort of standard, and if suddenly I fall short of fiery 100% passion, that means I’ve failed the whole Christian thing. So why even try? It’s an arbitrary impossible parameter that is NOT biblical.
Let’s consider a husband and wife. When they’re first dating and first married, it’s all rainbows and butterflies and ninja glitter puppies. But feelings come and go. The electric shock of holding hands gives way to a comfortable ocean-deep familiarity, which is not the formerly swimmy-stomach puppy love, but a new maturity like carving a poem into stone. This is a beautiful thing, and even though the original sparks can still happen sometimes, it’s based in a more real foundation. Except most people don’t know it happens this way, so they get disillusioned and distant and divorced.
It’s really cool you want to be passionately in love with Jesus as much as you can, but please don’t beat yourself up about this. Be prepared for the seasons when you’ll barely hang on to God with an intellectual thread, and other seasons where you’ll be so head-over-heels for Jesus that you’re getting tattoos of him on your ribcage. Be ready to be honest in your dry valleys, and be ready to rejoice on the mountaintop.
Enjoy both seasons, because both help you grow and both have significance in our lives. The winter and fall teach you to grow deep roots into God even when you don’t feel Him, and the summer and spring are those powerful weeks of blooming fruits and plentiful harvest that will have you laughing and weeping at the same time. Soon you’ll also see: loving Jesus is not even really up to you, because he’s the one who woos, who draws, who beckons, who calls. Loving Him is the easy part; God loving you cost His Son. The more you know that it’s less about you, the more free you will be to love God all the more.
Please also know I’m NOT saying it’s okay to be lukewarm. Our Christian lives are often about fighting for truth and clinging onto Christ in a broken world no matter how we feel. Not perfectly, but increasingly and with greater passion than all else. Yet we can’t whip ourselves into this sort of faith. Our motives and methods are meant to be built on the endless merciful grace of God. Anything less than His love leads to self-righteousness and fear — but grace set deeply in the human heart can thrive in the hardest of times. It is a balanced faith that can fight and rest at the same time.
So some simple things you can do today: Worship Him with music. Read some Scripture, like John or Philippians. Step outside and observe nature. Help a friend or a stranger. Encourage someone. Read from a good book, Christian or not. Be generous today, enough to sacrifice. Serve somewhere this week, not to earn God, but because God has already begun His work in you. And all these pieces together will bring you to Him: but you will quickly find He has already met you where you are.
I’ll end here by shamelessly quoting myself:
I hear a lot of people saying, “I don’t feel God anymore.” And there’s a lot of guilt there, like they’re not trying hard enough.
But “not-feeling-God” doesn’t make you a bad Christian: just an honest one. And maybe our baseline for “feeling-Him” got messed up with a false foundation.
Maybe when Life Got Hard, no one taught you a clear theology on pain. Maybe no one mentioned that seasons of doubt, suffering, and detachment are regular valleys in a believer’s life.
Those are also the EXACT times we go to God and tell Him everything. To even say, “I don’t feel you right now, God.” You can tell Him that.
Most of us think we’ve failed God when we don’t feel Him, when it’s actually that feeling of His absence that can either push you to Him or from Him. He’d much rather it be to Him.