when commitment comes before passion:: part II


“Love is an action before it’s a feeling.”

Tim Keller

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.

JC: Ok?

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?



3 thoughts on “when commitment comes before passion:: part II

  1. I think it’s beautiful when you have both passion and commitment. It’s tragic when you have one without the other, which ever one you have. It’s politically correct to favour having commitment without passion, but I think it’s equally tragic. I like how you titled your post: When commitment comes BEFORE passion. The journey of ending with both. The trust of believing that passion will come. Jonah tells a story when commitment can come alone (though thankfully it was more of a mission than a relationship). I think it’s a tougher walk when passion comes first, coz you might have an illusion of commitment, the illusion of longevity, till the fickle face of feelings shows up.

    The Deeper trust, that walking the journey, that this will nurture the seed of love that lives deep in your core, in your spirit. The humility and tenacity to walk away when you hear the voice of eternity say “No”. The humility and temerity to stay when feelings are wilting but you really are in the place of destiny, with who you should be with. And commitment eventually serves a summons to passion.

    In the end, everyone’s journey is unique and some journeys have the narrative punch of fiction, some comedy, most drama, some tragedy, and most hope for that romantic comedy drama story line. But finding, building, having, however arduous the journey, having trust (faith) having passion (hope) and having the greatest of them all love, worth every step of the journey.

  2. LOVE this post!!! I literally laughed out loud when I read the husband list thing, the amount I can relate to this thought process is hilarious. And then I realised just how amazing God is that I was reading this passage of scripture in the subway yesterday morning and one of my thoughts as I read the passage was very similar.
    Loving something, someone, is a very active process. We CHOOSE to love (I’m not talking hormone-driven being ‘in love’ here, I’m talking about exercising Agape/Philos). And love therefore follows commitment. Marriages that stand the test of time are proof of this. A choice to commit, which results in growing love. It’s the same with our relationship with God. We commit to believing first, then we get to know him better. Then we commit to following him, and we learn to love our calling. I think there are very few people who start their walk through destiny honestly excited about what God has called them for but the more we choose to commit, the more we love Him, the more we are changed (in heart, mind and spirit), the more we want to commit.

    • Thanks for checking my blog out Nicky and for sharing your thoughts! It’s so good to know that I’m not the only one who has these crazy thoughts and that God is able to work ALL things out for our good!

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