G.K. Chesterton said, “Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” Wow. How often do we think of our relationship with Christ as a love affair? It is troubling in my own life to recognize I’ve got a significant way to go in this regard. I love Him. I’m in awe of Him. I’m thankful for His mercy, provision, and protection. But do I possess the kind of white-hot, unstoppable love we associate with a love affair? Do I wake each morning unable to contain my excitement to see and spend time with Him?
Do I put off going to bed because it means less time spent in His presence? I’d love to be the guy who could answer in the affirmative to these questions, but I’m not. I want to be. In fact, it gets me excited even as I write these words. I want to love God with the love of a love affair, not of some dutiful worshipper.
When you are in love with someone, there is no one else with whom you’d rather spend time. My parents recently celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary, and I know this is true in their lives. It’s true for me as well. I’m blessed to have married my best friend. She and I prefer each other’s company to that of anyone else. It’s part of what it means to be in love. The work of marriage comes in keeping the romance, or the love affair, burning for the long haul. It’s the same in our relationship with Christ, except it’s even easier! Jesus will never let you down. He’ll never frustrate or exasperate you. Sure, we might get angry with Him, but in the end, we know the fault lies in our selfish and limited understanding and not with Him.
We need to retrain our focus on Jesus. The reason we may not experience our relationship as a love affair with Him is that we are too focused on ourselves. As in any relationship, focusing more on yourself than the other person is a recipe for trouble. He has already done more for us than we could ever possibly repay. Fortunately, it’s not about keeping score. He did what He did out of love for us. What are we doing out of love for Him?
The closest I come to feeling my relationship with Christ is like a love affair is during my early morning time of prayer and Bible study. There’s a clue there. The more time we spend with Him, the more we love Him. When we spend too long away from Him, we lose our focus and become consumed with ourselves and our tasks for the day. If you want your Christianity to be more like a love affair, you must spend more time in God’s presence.
Why not try this tomorrow morning? As soon as you open your eyes, think of three reasons you love God. Spend some time praying and thanking Him for those attributes. Worship His goodness. Consider His love for you. Think of how He finds you to be of unsurpassable worth; Jesus considered you worth surrendering His own life. What inexplicable blessings have come into your life? Remind yourself of His provision and protection. Did you have a roof over your head while you slept? Did you awaken in safety? Is there food for a breakfast? He has given us so much and we think about it so little. Don’t let your relationship with Christ be nothing more than religion. Turn it into the love affair of a lifetime.