Loving God Vs Being In Love with God [Hint. Don’t Be In Love With God]
I recently heard a song that blurred the line between Jesus and a theoretical boyfriend in one of the most blatant ways possible. It was only on the second listen when I realized “Hey, that song has the word “Lord” in it. She’s singing about God! What on earth…….?” It was a real stunner, and while there is much that can be said about the whole “Jesus is my boyfriend” mentality, a subset is this idea that we are IN LOVE with Jesus.
There are many exhortations in the Bible that speak of our love for God and his great love for us. We read that in response to the love of God we are to love him back and in the process of sanctification our affections for him are to grow and deepen. [1 John 4:19-20] Should we sing songs that talk about the love of God? Yes. Should we understand God as pursuing and wooing us so that he might save us? Yes. It is entirely appropriate and biblical to speak of how much we love God, and that we know, feel, and experience his love. That is good and those are things that we should be walking in and exploring and giving ourselves over to. But there is a chasm of difference between loving Jesus, and being in love with Jesus. Between loving God and being in love with God. The latter is not a biblical category and nowhere in the scriptures does it say that we are to be In Love with God or even that such a concept is biblically accurate, much less edifying. That sort of thing is never spoken about. It doesn’t exist.
And yet so much of the language that is used in our modern day Christian Evangelicalism is erotic in nature. It is fueled by romantic love and has subtly infected our culture, music, and our theology so that such expressions and ideas are considered commonplace. Its why our modern day popular evangelicalism has by and large accepted lyrics in our corporate worship like “I want to feel you against me Jesus…breathe on me…..hold me in your arms….your fragrance is intoxicating…whisper in my ear….. because I’m so in love with you…” This contribution of quasi-erotic lyrics and attitudes towards Jesus has resulted, among other things, in men leaving the Church in droves. They find this idea of Jesus as a bearded boyfriend to be intolerable to the point that in their absence the Church has become a place which is essentially run by women whose targeted audience is either other women or boys in skinny jeans.
The point of this post isn’t to get into a talk about the feminization of the church, however, but rather that we need to be more precise with our language. Our lack of precision causes confusion and creates a skewed view of who Jesus is, and in turn that skewed understanding affects how we look at what he has done for us in salvation and how he relates to us as our great God and savior. Instead of debasing we need to elevate. Instead of tacitly denigrating we need to be reiterating that he is holy, holy, holy. We don’t use such imprecise language in our everyday life, and so we ought to be extra careful when we’re talking about the creator of the world. In your own life, you wouldn’t say “I’m in love with my mother. I’m in love with myself. I’m in love with my job. I’m in love with my friends. I’m in love with my professors. I’m in love with my father in law. I’m in love with my neighbor” . No. You say “I love my mother. I love myself. I love my job. I love my friends. I love my professors. I love my father in law. I love my neighbor.”
And yet people don’t think twice about saying “I’m in love with Jesus. I’m in love God.” Or singing songs in worship like “I can’t stop falling in love with you. I’ll never stop falling in love with you.”
Lets stop being in love with God, and start loving God, which we can demonstrate by not telling people that he’s in love with us, and that we’re in love with him.
[Contributed by Dustin Germain]