One aspect of my life that I will always remember was when my heart begun to palpitate when I got close to Carmelita (now my wife). We were college students then. Some people call this being in love.
You know what it is like, right? It feels like your heart is dancing around your chest whenever you are with this special person.
For me, it was like there was an empty vacuum I never knew existed but has now been filled. It felt like endless laughter, looking into her eyes and seeing everything in the universe that is beautiful. Flowers, the beach, the mountains, the stars and Carmelita. All together grouped in the category of BEAUTIFUL. It’s a sunrise. It’s a golden sunset!
It felt like having won a lotto but much better. Whenever I get close to her I see fireworks lighting up the sky. It is wanting to give everything I have for her. It is laughing when she is laughing. It is crying when she is crying.
Some people call it risky when you fall in love. I agree. It is like jumping off a mountain with a blindfold, and then the relief of falling into a field full of sweet smelling roses.
It is trust and commitment for another. You are in love when you cannot hang up the phone — or when it is difficult to say “goodnight, see you tomorrow.”
If you have been in love, you know what I am talking about.
Have you ever thought about your relationship with Jesus as “falling in love”? This may seem like an inappropriate way to think of our relationship with God. However, the Apostle Paul declares that God invites us into an intimate love relationship like that of a bride and a groom (Ephesians 5:25, 32).
There is a book in the Bible called the Song of Songs. It isn’t just a romantic book for husbands and wives — it’s also an invitation for all of us! — for greater intimacy with Jesus, our spiritual Bridegroom.
Here are some quotes from the book. Jesus is like the bridegroom. His Spirit comes to us right now, “leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills… like a graceful gazelle or a strong stag.” He comes right up close and personal to where you live and he sings a love song to you: “Arise, my precious one, my lovely one, and come with me. See the winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come” (Song of Songs 2:8-12).
It was not easy when Jesus came to earth as flesh and blood. During his day, the Jewish rabbis were an arrogant stuffy intellectuals, religious legalists, and elitist aristocrats. They looked down their noses at the average people with superiority and condemnation. “You’re a sinner!” was their attitude toward anyone who was besieged with some crisis or problem, not fitting in with their structure of rules.
It was a long, unkind winter until Jesus brought springtime and loved everyone with reckless abandon.
Jesus shared Good News with the poor. He fed the hungry. He mingled with sinners. He forgave prostitutes. He ate with publicans. He touched lepers. He opened his arms to children and to anyone who came to him like a child.
The religious people thought he was insanely fanatical!
Love is like that. Love takes risks. It’s willing to look foolish in order to bless another. Love is not only deliberate and sacrificial — it’s also demonstrative and affectionate. To give or receive love is something that we feel (not always, but normally) and if we don’t feel love, then probably we’re emotionally wounded and need special care or counseling.
In such a troubled society with all kinds of hypocrites and sinners, how did Jesus do it?
Jesus’ heart-felt love for us comes from his intimacy with God the Father. His heartbeat is in sync with the Father. His rhythm of life is in harmony with God.
He could have built the most successful carpentry business in the world. He could have taken his teaching ministry to Athens and proved his ideas to be superior to Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. He could have been Israel’s political and military deliverer to overthrow Rome and take over the world.
But Jesus was different. His great joy in life was loving God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength and as he loved the Father who loved him, Jesus overflowed with that love for his neighbors (Mark 12:30-31).
Our Lord taught us what love is. For instance, he said, “The kingdom of the heavens is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:45).
What a strange pearl merchant Jesus describes. He sold all of his fine pearls — his whole business — just so he could have the one prize pearl he admired. That’s crazy! And that’s what Jesus did for us. He gave up all his privileges and rights for our sakes. He even spilled out his blood in order to forgive our sins and reconcile us to God. That is true love. Jesus’ story is the greatest love story.
Knowing how much Jesus loves us compels us to love him back. Knowing that He lives in us through His Spirit, Jesus’ love for us compels us to also love people.