Son: “Dad, I’ve heard that in some parts of the world a man doesn’t know his wife until he marries her.”
Father: “Son, that’s true everywhere.”
It’s interesting to think back when I got married, I loved my wife of course; it felt like the peak of love. If you were to ask me at the time if I could love her more I would say, with wisdom, no. However looking back on the years, I can see how much our love has progressed. Not only is it the physical attraction and personality connection that we started with, but over time we have grown in a love that is deep because we understand each other. We have been through good and bad times, and it is the depth of that love that has grown over time.
I can imagine how much more this is true for couples that have been together for 50 plus years. When you see an older couple still holding hands, no longer physically attracted to each other, you know there is a deep foundation that has not been broken over many years. You could say they understand love much more than they did when they were married which has been solidified over time.
This is not to discredit the passion that two young lovers have for each other. What they feel may be a different type of love yet to withstand the test of time, but it does not make their love for each other any less real.
Sometimes the problem comes when people don’t “feel” love anymore; they feel it has gone away, instead of embracing the deeper foundation of love that is built over time through good and bad experiences. Chasing a “feeling” is a recipe for disaster.
Countless books have been written on love, humans have tried to understand it with the limited knowledge we have. How do you define love or prove it to someone? We are told God is love but is love a feeling? Is it a decision? Is it a commitment? Or all of the above?
It’s important to remember that love is an attribute of God but love is not God. Love exists for both those who know God and those who do not. However, we know and experience love as humans because of God.
A.W. Tozer describes the love of God beautifully in the following passage of his book, The Knowledge of the Holy:
“From God’s own attributes we may learn much about His love. We can know, for instance, that because God is self-existent, His love has no beginning; because He is eternal, His love can have no end; because He is infinite, it has no limit; because He is holy, it is the quintessence of all spotless purity; because He is immense, His love is an incomprehensibly vast, bottomless, shoreless sea before which we kneel in joyful silence and from which the loftiest eloquence retreats confused and abashed.”
When you think of love on the level of God, there is no question that our concepts and demonstrations of love as humans fail to come anywhere close to God.
This leads me to my question in the title, “Can you love Jesus more?”
To answer no sounds like the right answer, after all, if I answer no, it sounds like I am holding back, that I have more to give.
However knowing that love does not stop growing and we can never reach the pinnacle of the love that God exudes, when we answer no it means we measured up to the highest level of love and we are giving Jesus our everything, we cannot grow in any way to knowing Him more and loving Him more.
The honest answer is yes, we can love Jesus more.
I believe we can all love Jesus more and here’s why. Love is more than just a feeling, just as when you grow in the knowledge of your spouse over time and your love deepens for one another, the same goes for Jesus. When you pursue Him, learn about Him, commune with Him, and devote your life to Him the result will be growth.
Hopefully, if you have been a Christian for a few years now, you will have seen your relationship grow with Jesus over time. If not, you need to be honest and ask yourself why.
Just like a marriage, the strength of the relationship is what YOU put into it. However, in the model of marriage, both persons have to pursue each other and give of themselves. With God, not only does He pursue His children, but He GAVE His son. The work has been done on His part, and yet He does not give up on us with that one event.
Jesus wants to be pursued and wants to be found, He has made Himself accessible with His Word and His Holy Spirit.
You may not have the butterflies of someone recently saved and the passion to tell every single person that a new Christian has and that is okay too. Just like a young couple can’t stand to be apart and cherishes every moment together, there is a noble attraction to those who have a sustained passion for Jesus. We may have a deeper relationship with Jesus over time, but we cannot let our love for Him be quenched either, there is a balance between the two!
Finding Jesus doesn’t mean no longer seeking Him!
Read that again.
The Bible talks about growing in maturity. Ephesians 4:15 says, “We will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18 commands, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
What does growing in knowledge have to do with love? The more you understand Jesus, the more you have a relationship with Him, the more you devote yourself to pursuing Him, the more you will love Him. Jesus is not only worthy of our love but He is loveable, He is desirable, He is someone to be cherished.
You may have read this and thought, I don’t have that type of relationship, I love Jesus, but I am young in my faith or I have been hardened by life. Friend, the good news is that you are able to make a choice to pursue God. The past does not determine your future. Just like the parable of the 10 virgins, all 10 of them fell asleep; however, the wise ones brought extra oil (symbolizing the Holy Spirit) (Matthew 25).
Wake up sleeper, trim your lamps, fill your life with the Spirit so that when trials come or “life happens,” you can rely on the foundation you created and the love of God that you cultivated to carry you through. And when the bridegroom that you have been longing for comes back, you will be ready to embrace the lover of your soul.
Discerning Reflection: How would I rate the love I have for Jesus now versus 1, 5, 10 years ago? What can I do to grow in the knowledge of Jesus and pursue a relationship with Him on a daily basis?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your love, for loving me even though I am not worthy. Thank you for giving your Son to bridge the gap of sin and death and allowing me to partake in a relationship with my Creator. Keep the fire burning in me, let not the enemy quench it. Keep me focused on pursuing you daily, Jesus. Amen.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on discerning-dad.com.
Featured Image by Jeremy Bishop