Christians have always made a big deal out of loving Jesus.
And I get this. They mean, I think, that is strange in our world of metrics, and money, and industry, to love a man that claims to be God. They mean that is impressive you have learned to love him.
People have told me, “I love that you love Jesus.”
And I blush even writing this, because I don’t think this a great feat. Well, first, I don’t believe I love him all that well at all, but that’s a different story.
I guess I’ve never seen loving Jesus that impressive of a task. What I’ve always been amazed at, what I’ve always struggled with, is believing Jesus loves me.
You probably know people that believe this very deeply. They sense Him. They feel Him. They talk about Him like a wife talks about her new groom. They talk with a sense of affection for how much they know they are loved by this God man.
These people amaze me. I admire them.
They do what I’ve always had a hard time doing. They take Jesus at His word.
They have the boldness to believe Him.
The Bible makes it pretty clear (even though our pastors sometimes don’t) that our God loves us. And it’s not the stuff of High School sweetheart love either. It’s the tough and grimy love of a dad that loves his disobedient 3 year old. It’s the consistent love that a mom has for her teenage son who has been caught drinking yet again.
It’s written out pretty plainly. I’ve just always had a hard time ingesting the words and letting them hit my gut.
Let me explain.
When I was in middle school I loved meat. We would have family dinners and I would skim over the potatoes, applesauce, corn, and just go right for the roast beef. I would shovel it in my mouth despite my mom’s pleading to take smaller bites. Inevitably, there would come a time in the meal when I would have to spit a good chunk of the meat out just so I could actually chew the rest and swallow. I also choked a fair amount of times.
This is kind of how I’ve always felt about taking Jesus at His word – about believing God when He says, “I love you.”
I stick it in my mouth and chew on it – trying to break it down, but usually getting very little of the sweet truth into my belly.
This is why people who have figured out this love – figured out a better way to eat the words, have left me with tears in my eyes on numerous occasions.
I want to believe Jesus loves me like you believe it.
I don’t have an answer just yet. I don’t have a huge father complex or anything like that. It’s just always been hard to take God at His word when it comes to love.
So I’ll always be more amazed at the people who believe Jesus loves them – even likes them, than the folks who “love Jesus so well”.
My bet is if we believed this maker of lakes and mountains and lovers, deeply cared for our everyday fears and hopes, we wouldn’t have a very hard time loving him right back.