I talk a lot about total surrender to God, about denying self and dying to this old world, but unless we understand that process, its just words on the screen. How can we be expected to leave everything, even our very identity, if we don’t find a better existence and identity? I had been told about Jesus all my life and knew a lot of second hand info about Him, but it wasn’t until I actually met Him and fell in love with Him that I traded my right of self determination for the privilege of being under His sovereignty.
So how do we fall in love with God? The answer is the same as falling in love with anybody. Since I’m a teller of stories, what better story to tell than my own of falling in love, leaving my world of singleness and finding the exact person I needed for unity.
The first time I saw her she was coming down the isle of our church behind Sister Kay, so I just got glimpse of her every so often. Thinking I’d get a better view of this new girl, I stepped to one side but wouldn’t you know, Sister Kay came to a stop right in front of me and started talking to me. Now I liked this lady, but what I really wanted was to talk to the chick behind her. When my brain pushed through my 17 year old testosterone-laden fog, I heard her say “…so I was wondering if you could let her go with you to the youth group?” Wait a minute, what did I miss? “ Uh, sure, yes ma’am, sure, be happy to.”
So off we went to youth, just she and I, and I discovered she was Sister Kay’s sister, her name was Kathy, and she sat right beside me for the whole meeting. I don’t remember anything else about that event because it was like I was sitting in a bubble with this good looking girl, and she only seemed interested in me. I mean, she wasn’t even checking out Larry, the Pastor’s son who had a new GTO, or Terry, his good looking cousin who could get any girl he wanted. No, she only talked quietly to me and looked directly into my eyes while we talked.
That day was a life changing event for me, because I had met someone who really liked me, not for my money which I had very little of, or my car, which was the family 1962 ford station wagon. The only fly in this ointment of young love we were building was the fact that she lived 150 miles away. On top of that, her old rural dad was very adamant she did not need to associate with a city kid who didn’t hunt and fish, didn’t like baseball or just about any other thing he considered important.
After that day she went back home and life went on for both of us. We went to school, found other people to be interested in, and occasionally saw each other when she would come back for a visit. I’d always try to sneak in a date with Kathy but her dad was a good dad who loved his daughter and stood firm, none of that was going to happen. I finally accepted that seeing her at church and talking out in the hallway was the best I could do and tried my best to be friendly with her dad.
Eventually she finished her senior year at High school and as the Valedictorian of her class, was going to give the speech at the ceremony. Much to my surprise I got an invitation from her sister to attend the ceremony, and when Kathy looked out at the people in Rochelle High’s auditorium, there I sat with her family.
Looking back at that night, I remember it was like looking down a tunnel and at the end there stood Kathy. She was talking away about going out to meet the new world and all that stuff, but I didn’t really pay that much attention. All I could see was her, and from that moment I knew I was so in love nothing else was important. In fact after the graduation, we went on our first, and only true date. I remember we were sitting in the car just talking about our dreams and such, and I grabbed her hand and said “Kathy, will you marry me?” Yeah, I know, I’m pretty impulsive.
She, as I have eventually found out, is as methodical a person as God ever created, and promptly told me: “No, I’ve got things going on, just got a job in Brownwood, got my first car, and I’m moving in with my great aunt.” I saw right away that I had a bit more work to do.
For the next 7 months I drove over a hundred miles each way to visit her every other Friday. By then her dad decided he’d have to teach me to hunt and fish so that worked out and her mom laid the best table I had ever encountered. Man, what’s not to like. The best thing that happened was we had time to get to know each other. The worst thing was the wear and tear on my 1965 Fairlane that had a 390 big block, 4 barrel Holley carb and 4 on the floor. That old beast would snort and get it if you pushed it, and push it I did-getting back to where my heart stayed. So as they say, the rest is history. We tied the knot 48 years ago and it’s been a wonderful journey.
Falling in love with another human being is what God established when He created us. But He also created us to be in love with Him, and why most folks go through life looking for something to fill the void only He can fill. So how do we fall in love with Jesus? First we meet Him, either by being introduced by a friend, or by simply seeking for Him on our own. We meet Him, and talk to Him face to face, heart to heart, and His Spirit flows back to us. The first time you encounter God’s Spirit it is a life-changing event.
Second we need to spend time getting to know Him by reading His Word, singing to Him, talking to Him and hanging out with Him. I’m not big on creating a formula on how this should transpire, but Luke records how it happened to the original church in the Book of Acts. That is a great place to start reading about how falling in love with Jesus will affect a person.
The deeper we fall in love with Jesus, the more we want of Him.