She found my response a bit odd. Certainly not romantic. And not what she was expecting. I turned to her and said, "If I loved you, I would have asked you to marry me."
The fact is, if I was in love at that time, nothing could have stopped me from marrying her. I would have done anything she asked. No obstacles could have been to great. Love would have conquered all.
That memory came to mind this morning as I was reading the Book of John. It is the last supper, and Jesus is spending his final hours with his disciples with these words...
If you loved me, you will obey what I command. (John 14:15)
In both situations, it is clear that LOVE preceeds ACTION. When you truly love, there is no thought involve. No advance planning necessary. The actions are natural. They flow freely. They bring great joy.
When you are in love with Jesus, no one has to TELL you to obey his commands. You go out of your way to do just that.
Too often in the American church, we get that backwards. We teach people how to ACT. We condemn those who act badly. But we don't spend as nearly as much time helping people fall in LOVE. Hi. Let me tell you about Jesus. He's funny, smart, good looking. A great dancer. Thoughtful, considerate. He listens very well. He brings peace and joy to everyone he meets. And I think he would like you a whole lot.
No. Sometimes the American church you see on TV or read about in the papers doesn't spend a lot of time introducing people to Jesus. Or so it seems.
I can understand why from my own experience. I spend way too much time condemning myself for my misdeeds. My indescretions. My thoughtless moments. And way too little time falling in love with Jesus.
But there's hope. Remember that then-girlfiend from 1986? Well, we did fall in love. And after being married for 20 years, the love is even stronger now.