Most people I know have been in love. It’s amazing what happened when I fell in love with Anna. Time just suddenly appeared! We both thought we were busy before we fell for one another, but we quickly found ourselves spending numerous hours on the phone, sacrificing sleep, and being intentional about getting time with one another. Fast-forward seventeen years into marriage. While we don’t have the same feeling of butterflies in our stomach when we see each other or talk on the phone, our marriage is exponentially better when we are intentional about one-on-one time together. I have found the same to be true with Jesus. While I may not have the same emotional high as the season Jesus was “courting me into the Kingdom”, spending one-on-one time alone with Him drastically enhances our relationship.
I am slowly beginning to realize after seventeen years of marriage, and a number of years of consistently getting time with Jesus, that the courting phase was nothing compared to the level of love and intimacy that is experienced when I simply spend time with the one(s) I love.
A few years ago Anna and I attended a couples retreat in Seattle lead by Tina Sellers called, Passion For Life. The weekend was remarkable, and was very encouraging for our marriage. One of the primary teachings of the weekend is the importance of believing that we are loved by God. This is where it all begins. We really cannot give or receive love properly until we believe that we are loved by our Father. One of the best pictures of this in scripture in John 15. Jesus tells us:
4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
10 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
The central message of Jesus is to remain in His love. That is really our only part, to remain, to abide. As we allow ourselves to be loved by God and to remain in that love, we can’t help but love others without expectation or attachment. We can freely love, knowing that we are loved by the Father. Since Jesus is love and He is in us, then we too are love. Amazing!