Originally posted February 22, 2012. Lightly edited October 12, 2020
Don’t settle for “falling in love.” Stand back up. Get your balance. There is so much more to love. The problem with falling in love is that it says too little about love. It relegates love to one specific aspect of our being, namely, the emotions. I remember watching a special with Bethany about how those who are twitterpated are actually measurably stupider. Their euphoric emotional high resulted in lower test scores and decreased their ability to reason and think logically. While on such an emotional high, one is loving their beloved with less of their being. Dear newlywed, turn to your beloved and tell them not to worry. Soon Cupid’s toxins will wear off and you’ll come to my senses and love them more.
Some overreact against such an Epicurean smelling concept of love and go Stoic. They relegate love to the faculty of the will. Love is a choice they say. Well, yes and no. They are as equally reductionist as the person who makes love to reside wholly in the affections. But we are whole beings, and true love, the deepest love, engages the whole of us. Stoic “lovers” (a genuine contradiction) may cite Paul’s description of love in 1 Corinthians 13 as a defense, but notice two things. First, one can choose (an act to the will) to give away all they have, and make the ultimate self-sacrifice by giving their body to be burned and not have love (1 Corinthians 13:3). Pure will and act alone do not constitute love, something is missing. Second, love rejoices in the truth. Love has affectional as well as volitional aspects.
I am called to love God will all of my being, none of me is exempt (Deuteronomy 6:4-6). So in a very real sense, you must “fall out of love” to really love someone, to love them with more of who you are. And this means discovering deeper, truer, and stronger affections as part of that love.
But let me offer this last caution in regard to loving God: this does not put a governor on how high the affections may soar. In loving God my heart, mind, and will need not be at odds. Yahweh is infinitely glorious so my mind is never disengaged; and if I truly perceive Him in my mind, my affections, no matter how intense, are never an overreaction; and when guided by truth and motivated by joy my actions can never be too radical. In other words, loving God with all of our being does not mean that any capacity (emotional, mental, or volitional) is limited, but rather liberated to soar to infinite heights.
Don’t settle for a honeymoon “falling in love” with God either. And when the euphoria fades, don’t thinking you’re necessarily forgetting your first love. Perhaps, you’re falling deeper into a mature kind of love, like that of the couple who sits in the pew across from you that just celebrated their golden anniversary.