Bev, the woman who became my life partner, walked into my life on the first Sunday of June, 1974! It was ‘love at first sight.’ That Summer we spent hours together, talking and dreaming. Just a touch produced euphoria. We were intoxicated with each other’s person. We were convinced that we were ‘perfect together’ though we knew next to nothing about each other! We married in January, six months later and we were in love for 41 years until she went home to Heaven. The letters I wrote to her during that time are stored away with other memorabilia from our life. The gushing prose of my infatuation is funny and sweet, exactly as it should be for those newly in love! It was the season of romance.
Over the years our love changed remarkably. We were perfect together not because we were ‘just the same,’ as we thought in the first days. We learned that love was complementary, giving each our place among the routines of our shared life and gave stability, producing a kind of security that enhanced our ability to serve God. Though the infatuation faded a few years into our marriage, we shared a love that deepened, that found some of the sweetest moments in our 4 decades together during the terrible last months of her illness.
I have a question for you. Are you just infatuated with God, or do you love Him deeply? Some of our contemporary Christian literature celebrates the romance of personal faith, lauding the moment of conversion and the euphoria of new-found faith. I rejoice that finding Jesus excites that the gift of faith in those early days of discipleship, but does it lead to spiritual transformation? The romance of the Spirit is euphoric, intoxicating even. Some teach that the Christian life will continue to be the ‘spiritual high’ of the first moments in which we find hope, forgiveness, and purpose. That sets up a false expectation that leads some to change spiritual experiences – moving from church to church, from one teacher to another.
The Scripture urges us to “stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God.” (Hebrews 6:1, NLT) The ideal of the Christian is not the early romance of new, yet instable, faith. It is a mature, enduring, persevering faith of the kind that Paul wrote about to Timothy. The old apostle had been knocked to the ground on the road to Damascus in a dramatic revelation of Jesus decades earlier. Saved and healed, he grew into a profound faith. Now, he faced death, condemned for his faith. Does he lament the loss? Not at all. “I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.” (2 Timothy 1:12, NLT) “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” (2 Timothy 4:7, NLT)
Have you kept the faith? Is your love for the Lord mature, rich, and deep?
Disciple, grow on in Christ Jesus. Don’t mourn or resist the inevitable changes in your relationship with Him. I am not suggesting, even for a moment, that we should settle for apathy. Indifference is not to be mistaken for mature love. Jesus warns of ‘forsaking our first love!’ (Revelation 2:3 NIV) His desire is that He is always the first in our priorities, the One to whom we are devoted. However, He calls us to develop into “fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13, The Message)
Here is a word from the Word. May the Spirit call us to love that is steady, life-long, and fulfilling. “And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s people, let us go right into the presence of God, with true hearts fully trusting him. For our evil consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:21-25, NLT)
Great is Your faithfulness O God
You wrestle with the sinner’s restless heart
You lead us by still waters into mercy
And nothing can keep us apart
(So) remember Your people
Remember Your children
Remember Your promise O God
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me
Great is Your love and justice God of Jacob
You use the weak to lead the strong
You lead us in the song of Your salvation
And all Your people sing along
Yeah Your grace is enough
Heaven reaches out to us
Your grace is enough for me
God I sing Your grace is enough
I’m covered in Your love
Your grace is enough for me for me
\Matt Maher © 2003 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
CCLI License # 810055