Bible Stuff That Won't Bore You

Hallmark’s Next Valentine Card: I Love You Jesus, But I Am Not *In* Love With You

I will be the first to say I have expressed love for Jesus but not always followed up with life-changing actions motivated by a desire to know God intimately. Why is this? We celebrate how God loves and forgives us, but when it comes to committing ourselves to him fully, why do we stop short?

A Spiritual Marriage Lesson Taken From Life

Whether we have personally experienced it or not, when we are in a relationship and it feels like our partner does not have the same level of feelings for us as we do for them, it can feel really awful

This is especially hard to avoid on holidays or special occasions where we are pretty much obligated to do something special for our partners, as it can quickly show how little, or how much, we care

In contrast, some every day examples can be seen when we reach for our partner’s hand or go to hug them but they draw back, we look forward to spending time together but they do not care to talk with us very much or remember anything we say, our feelings and thoughts do not matter in conversations, or maybe they go out of their way to not seem close to us when we are out in public, etc…

These are easy to understand examples of what an inattentive or disinterested partner’s actions are like

And because these cases are so obvious, they seem fairly rude right?

So what does this have to do with Christianity?

Christians Are Often Bad Relationship Partners With God

Okay, so this may sound weird, but, in the OT and NT, the Bible references how the church is the bride of Christ, and draws a lot of metaphorical meaning from marriage

Ephesians 5:25-29
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church

Jeremiah 2:2
I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the desert, through a land not sown

Revelation 19:7
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready

Carrying the metaphor of marriage forward, if we compare the characteristics of a typical unhealthy relationship to how a lot of us approach our relationship with God, the similarities are shockingly similar as we often expect a lot, do not always give much back, and keep doing things that hurt God’s feelings even when we know better–we have all done it, so how do we stop?

Understanding Our True Appreciation And Love For God

Okay, it is time to get real with ourselves

2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

Let’s all take a moment and honestly ask: do I just like God or do I actually love him?

This is an important question to ask ourselves, as we often sing praise about wanting to be in God’s presence, we give thanks for all he has done for us to our friends, and we often feel so good about God in general, but we have to ask ourselves, are we truly in love with God or do we just say those things?

In order to assess this accurately, let’s consider what an earthly partnership typically looks/feels like when it is at its most passionate (often when it is new), ie:

  • We constantly think of the other person
  • We think about ways we can please our partner by doing things or expressing our feelings in some way
  • We care about how they think or feel
  • Our thoughts always linger on them, and we usually day dream
  • We feel all fluttery and giggly, like nothing, or no one else, in the world matters
  • We fight to maintain this feeling and would do anything to protect it by giving it our time, energy, and emotions

This sounds like a lot of our early stage relationships with God, or when we get some kind of “boost” by hearing a guest speaker or something, but the likeness to a sagging relationship is very similar as most people start off crazy and passionate, then things dwindle over time to the point where partners are taken for granted, and sometimes the relationship feels “boring”

When We Are Not Hungry For, Or Curious About Something, It Is Not Interesting To Us

I know what it is like to live in Christian “boredom”, where I was a Christian by name, but I was not a Christian in terms of having a living, powerful, intimate relationship with God, and as a result, the relationship suffered tremendously

Just like any untended and/or unappreciated relationship, Christianity can actually become boring and uninteresting when it is left to just sit there

This is just like how even the best ingredients are not a cake unless we make them, just like we do not learn to love, understand scripture, overcome sin, etc… just because the promise of God’s spirit and forgiveness automatically compels us towards greatness without effort on our part–we have to put in some work!

In my experiences, the main reason people get “bored” with God is not because he suddenly starts telling really bad jokes at church socials, it is because people do not get to know him enough to where they understand his personality and character, and the relationship is missing one important component: a deeply passionate, personal relationship!

Just like an earthly relationship, Christianity usually becomes stale when people get into a rut and stop growing or learning, whether as a couple or as individuals, but growth always has an impact on the relationship one way or another

Proverbs 29:18
Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law

Again, God did not run out of wise things to tell us or reveal to us in the Word, nor did he run out of miracles or answered prayers, it is just so easy to turn to God when we want something, then go back to our regular lives when we do not, especially when we are not passionate about God

Deuteronomy 8:10
When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you

Jeremiah 2:27
They say to wood, ‘You are my father,’ and to stone, ‘You gave me birth.’ They have turned their backs to me and not their faces; yet when they are in trouble, they say, ‘Come and save us!’

Jeremiah 32:33
They turned their backs to me and not their faces; though I taught them again and again, they would not listen or respond to discipline

This is very similar to how Jesus described the parable of the sower, as relationships often start out amazingly, but some of them get choked out over time by distractions, or we become lazy, unthinking, couch-potato partners that nobody rushes home to get ignored by

Luke 8:11-15
This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop

It is so common for us to feel that first bit of tingly “rush” when we first know God, but it can fade over time if we do not stay passionate, and instead of being willing to protect the relationship and intimacy at all costs, we start to take it for granted, just like how a partner can become taken for granted and a relationship’s intimacy can fade, regardless of where it started from

Caring About God’s Feelings

We need to have empathy for God’s feelings, and understand his personality, or we will never stop sinning or feel motivated to seek him passionately

But let’s really think about that equation, as God was not a random person we met at school, on a bus or while out with friends, he literally stepped down from his throne in heaven, became a man and died a horrible death to show us his definition of love and power as an example to follow (anchored in humility, forgiveness, and servitude)–all while doing this for us when we were still his enemies, dwelling in sin

That is an amazing valentine card!

However, instead of falling all over ourselves in gratitude and chasing after God with passion, we usually take it slow, letting go of things over time while “God is working on us”, rather than thinking:

“Wow! The one who put the stars in the heavens with his fingertips loves me so much he paid his life so I could know forgiveness and freedom from sin, how can I show my appreciation”?

Well, it probably does not involve “almost” loving God by holding onto some areas of sin, and it probably would not involve ignoring him on a regular basis while we do other things

Living like that is the equivalent of saying:

“Jesus, I love you, but I am not *in* love with you”

What Does The Bible Say About Those Who Love God?

The Bible is pretty clear about how we are not supposed to sin, okay, but what about literally hating evil?

Think about it like this, here is no way in the world we would hold onto sin in our lives if we really loved God, as those who love God “hate” evil

Psalm 97:10
Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked

Romans 12:9
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good

Not just dislike it, or be able to resist evil most of the time, it means to literally hate it

So now, also think about “hating evil” in relation to the list of love’s characteristics above

Would we even consider sin if we are head over heels in love with God?

No, just like we would never even consider cheating on our partner when we are overwhelmed with love and adoration for them

Sometimes people have a relaxed attitude about temptation and areas of sin because they have improved so much since they became saved (who is ever finished, wrong attitude!), or they coast knowing they have “grace”

In terms of a marriage metaphor, the Bible is abundantly clear how God views people who “cheat” on him by holding onto things that contradict his character, as these people are referred to as unfaithful spouses

James 4:4
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God

Does that sound harsh though, I mean, saying that by holding onto some problem areas we are expressing “hatred towards God”, and become “an enemy of God”

Well, not really

Is A Cheater Really A Cheater If They Only Cheat A Little Bit? Ah Come On!

We all have a few tough areas in our lives we do not actively deal with like others


Yes, it is true

But, this is exactly what James was saying when he talked about people expressing hatred towards God and becoming his enemy when they willingly hold onto sin in preference over God’s righteousness

Think of it like this, imagine you were married to someone for a few years, the relationship was great and everything was amazing, but one day you find out the other person has been cheating on you, not all the time, maybe four or five times a year (month/week/day). Oh, it could have been worse though, because other than their regular flings, they met a lot of people in the past they did not pursue

Now of course, it *never* meant anything, and they would *never* do it again, even though this is the second year they promised to stop doing it

Mmm hmm…

Sadly, this is the very dynamic that exists in a lot of our relationships with God, as we often overlook his feelings in favor of his blessings

But, we can see how when we truly love someone, we care about their feelings, and about protecting the intimacy of the relationship, more than anything else–not just when we are in their presence, but out of it as well

This is the key to really loving God, to treat him like a best friend and cherished partner, to always honor him out of gratitude and the sheer joy of knowing him

Let alone for joy of being called his bride and “glory”

1 Corinthians 11:7
A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God

Revelation 21:2
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband

Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God

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  • Haha, when I saw the title of this, I thought you were going to critique those “Jesus is my girlfriend” songs that pop up in CCM. Another time, perhaps.

    Instead, I’m pleased to see you taking a stab at that whole “Jesus is a feeling–if He’s tingly, then my prayer is working.” It’s very easy to feel passionate about God one day, and then nothing at all the next–or even later the same day! As Jeremiah pointed out, the heart is desperately wicked and a great liar. It’s hard for us to stomach, with all the talk about “Follow your heart” or “Let your heart be your guide”. But come on–if you had a friend who was as fickle and unreliable as your heart, why on earth would you let them make your major life decisions?

    One of the things about God that is most worthy of love and worship is that he doesn’t change the way we do. That isn’t to say that God is static or unfeeling, but he isn’t fickle. His character is perfect and unblemished, and will always be that way. He’ll always love us, always keep his word. He’s incapable of lies or ulterior motives. He is incapable of betrayal. He doesn’t need us, so he cannot exploit us. He is always just and fair. Every single time. We never have to wonder “What was God thinking?” Certainly, we *may* wonder about such things (although we’re unlikely to figure it out, most of the time–for who can know the mind of God?). But the beauty is that we don’t have to. We know that his character is pure and good, and never need to doubt it. We have reason to question others–they can be unreliable, selfish, deceptive, and so on. But we can completely rely on God. There’s not a single person on earth about whom that can be said, not even the best among us (As Christ said–why do you call me good? No one is good but God).

    Of course, that makes it easy to take him for granted, especially when he’s a much better listener than most of us. He isn’t demanding, or an attention-hound, or domineering (no matter what some of the New Atheists might say). He lets us live our lives, and enjoys watching it. 

    I don’t always have the fire or the passion in my relationship with God, and I confess it frankly to him when that is the case. Unlike a girlfriend or a child, I doubt that he takes it personally. The heart goes up and down, all those feelings are just feelings.

    But I still talk to him. One of the best things in my life is knowing that he who hung the stars is interested in the petty minutiae of my life, when I want to talk about them. He’ll listen to my girl troubles, or how I just don’t feel like working out, and sometimes when I just haven’t got it in me to get out of bed in the morning, he gives me a little boost, if I ask. I turned my back on him for years, and the second that I asked him to return, he was right there. It was like he’d been waiting at my shoulder the whole time, waiting for the word, but never forcing me.

    (speaking of “Jesus is my girlfriend” songs, cue up Willie Nelson’s ‘Always On My Mind’)

    I do love God, and I am sometimes moved to tears when I speak to him, and he speaks to me. But if I had to choose between getting that sort of jolt every day, and the knowledge that God is always there, always good, always listening, and always loving, it’s hardly a choice at all. Better to be constant than enamored.

    In the end, passion is great. Passion is part of the human experience. But I don’t think that fleeting, ephemeral, often-illusory sensation is that important, nor is trying to “get the spark back”. The spark will come and go as it pleases, sometimes, that’s part of the mystery. Loyalty, though, the kind of bond born out of faith, hope, and loving kindness, that’s a gift of God’s grace and a reflection of his character. Christ experienced a passion on this earth, to be sure, but it was his real love, the kind that acts *despite* feelings, not because of them, that truly mattered.

    • Hi Bennett,

      The issue of taking God for granted is so rampant in almost every Christian’s life

      I was thinking this morning about how it is often so difficult for people to praise God with freedom, and I thought:

      “We have so much to give thanks about, we have to live in constant denial in order to not flip out all the time over what we have been given”

      I liken it to one of those words you say until your brain loses its grip on the word’s meaning, then it just becomes noise, as we hear statements like the ones below so often and overlook what they actually mean to the point they have little to no impact on our daily lives or thought processes

      “Jesus died and paid for your sins”
      “We will spend eternity in heaven with God”
      “God loves us so much he came to earth as a man, and shed his own blood so that we may be saved”

      And so on…

      The point, is that if we stopped and focused on the real meaning of those statements, our perspective would be a lot different

      Even if we just focused on our sense of gratitude for having our sins be forgiven and our consciences wiped clean, that should be an amazing reason for inspiration on its own!

      However, sometimes, even without joy or gratitude, our fear and respect for God is what carries the day, as you mentioned how we cannot always know God’s reasoning, but we do trust that his character is what it is, and must also defer to his judgment even when something may not make the most sense

      For example, Noah feared/respected God to the point where he built the ark out of sheer belief that floods were coming, which shows he not only heard what was said, but actually listened and acted on it as well, which is why he is credited as being the first “heir” of the righteousness that comes by faith, ie: heard what God said, put it into practice through action

      Hebrews 11:7
      By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith

      In my walk, I want God’s both presence and the knowledge he is steadfast, as the closer we are to him the more intimate and sweet the relationship becomes, which comes through understanding his character and caring for him with ever increasing measure

      But there is still no replacement for love, and genuine respect, of God’s character, and his standard of love, righteousness, and demonstrated action

      Also, I am just wrapping up an article about prayer and self-entitlement, should be funny and very topical!

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