“Love is an action before it’s a feeling.”
Tim Keller is profound. He said this in his sermon on “Marriage as a Commitment and Priority” that you can get here if you are interested. I recommend all his sermons, he just has a way of contextualising everything in the Bible and helping us make sense of its meaning today- I love it!
Most of us have read Matthew’s account of how Christ went to the beach and said to Simon and Andrew (who later became His disciples), “Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.” When He said “follow me” He was calling these guys to commit to Him: to go where He goes, do what He does, going where He sent them. Incredibly, these guys did not know Christ from a bar of soap (did they have bars of soap back then?) but they dropped everything and followed him. They committed before they fully knew what they were getting into. I think we sometimes have ideas about what commitment means that we superimpose onto God. We assume that God will give us some time to settle in first, receive love from Him then fully commit.
If Jesus happened to walk by today like He did back then here is what our conversation would look like:
JC: Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of law student out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of dollars and cents.
Me: Wait, where have I heard that before?! Whips out phone and types words out into Google search bar. Snaps head up suddenly and looks wide- eyed.
JC: Yes. Smiley face (because no one actually smiles anymore).
Me: Um, I have a few questions before I agree, I want to know what I am getting myself into.
Me: So, firstly, HUSBAND.
Is he cute? Will he be able to carry me across the threshold? I’ve got nothing against smaller guys but he should at least be taller than me. Is he black or white? Or foreign? ‘Cause if he’s foreign then I want him to be really foreign, you know as in not from Africa foreign. He must be foreign-foreign. I’m not picky but at the least he should be someone I’m intensely attracted to at first. I want my heart to burn with the intensity of his awesomeness when I first meet him. And I also want to know. Like when I meet him it shouldn’t like how it is with everyone else, I must know-know.
Also: where will I live, what will I wear, what will I eat? If I follow you what will my benefits look like? How many children? Where will I go? Who will my friends be? …
And so it will go. It amazes me that these guys “simply dropped their nets and followed” and it completely goes against my idea of what I expect commitment to God to look like. They must have immediately recognised that Jesus was unlike any other man they’d met, there was definitely a supernatural element to their deciding to follow. The same is true today, we all have an encounter where God reveals Himself to us, it need not be dramatic. But the fact remains that these guys did not have the feelings towards Jesus that we think is the prerequisite for committing to something. They did not know Him. For them, love firstly was a step towards Jesus, an action. Their feelings, their passion, that aspect of love was a result of their decision to walk with Him every day.
Sometimes we are called to action love something before we feeling love it. This is not always the case but I think that we all face that challenge at some point.
What are your honest thoughts on this?