“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready” (Revelation 19:6b-7).
Who doesn’t love a wedding? The look in the eyes of the bride as she walks down the aisle gazing at her groom screams love. It’s one of my favorite parts of the ceremony, along with the exchanging of vows.
So what brought the bride and groom to this place of love and commitment? How can we grow in love for Jesus and for one another? Our role as the Bride of Christ (the Church) intimates a deep and loving relationship with Jesus our Groom.
I received the following comment recently to one of my posts, Whatever You Do!.
“One of the things I’m interested in these days is what are the habits that we can make a part of our lives that will most significantly change our core desires … moving us toward a deeper love for God and for others. For God wants us to obey him, but he also wants us to love him which surely involves desire to be with him.”–peaceweb
How do we fall in love with God? How do we cultivate our relationship with Him?
Love most often begins with attraction. But you can’t build a solid relationship based solely on attraction. When many of us became Christians, we were first attracted to Christ by His offer of forgiveness and eternal life. Not really sure of our next steps, we began to engage in “Christian type” activities. We attended church and sometimes Bible studies. We gave of our finances, and perhaps our time. We may have even spoken to others about having a relationship with Jesus. But in all of our busy-ness, we often fall short of actually developing that relationship beyond the level of attraction.
Love’s next step involves getting to know one another. It is obvious that God already knows everything to know about us, and we may know things about Him, but do we really know Him? We can get to know Him by reading His word, but Bible reading in itself no more reveals who He is than reading the “God” Wikipedia page. If we aren’t actively seeking to engage and interact with Him in His Word, then we are merely doing what we feel is expected of us. If all we know about someone is what we read on their Facebook, we really don’t know them at all.
When my wife and I first started dating, I remember sitting across the table from her, hanging on every word she said. Internally I was building an image of who she really was based on the things that she said, each conversation bringing that image into clearer focus. I think that if we really want to grow more in love with God, we need to take the same approach when we read His Word. We need to approach the Bible as if we were having an intimate conversation with God; piecing together the mystery of who He is; hanging on each word; expecting to get to know Him more with every reading.
Of course, God doesn’t speak only through the written word, He speaks to us in prayer, the other kind of conversation we can have with Him. I think that we often spit out prayers like they were Twitter posts. We tell God what we want and seek His blessings all in 140 characters or less. And we seldom wait for a reply. But prayer is a conversation, not a directive. It involves interaction between us and God. Have you ever had someone ask you a question and then continue talking, never waiting for your answer. That’s what we often do to God. We can only grow in our love for Him if we care about what He has to say. If we don’t listen, we don’t love.
Tomorrow we’ll conclude our look at falling in love with God, and growing our love for others.
Blessings on your day!