“This type of love keeps going when the road gets rocky. It pushes through times of discouragement. It steps up when sacrifice is required. This type of love changes us from the inside out.”
As a pastor for more than three decades, I have married hundreds of couples. And I can assure you that they all approached marriage filled with love and hope. But not every couple achieved a happily ever after. Some returned to my office for counseling, disillusioned and even bitter. This was not the “love” they hoped for, and now they were considering divorce.
I believe the same thing can happen in our relationship with God. As new believers, we are full of optimism. When we turn from sin and humble ourselves in repentance before God, receiving the redemption made possible through Jesus, He fills our heart with abundant joy and peace that we’ve never known.
But love is more than an emotional high. Following Jesus requires sacrifice. Jesus told His disciples to “take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). He did not promise this way would be easy. In fact, He taught quite the opposite. We walk out our love for Jesus, step by step, day by day.
Jesus explained this all-in type of love by repeating a command, found in the Old Testament, “to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt. 22:37). This type of love keeps going when the road gets rocky. It pushes through times of discouragement. It steps up when sacrifice is required. This type of love changes us from the inside out.
Dee and I have been married for more than 30 years. And not all those years have been easy. We’ve had difficult conversations. We’ve walked through heartbreak and illness and discouragement. But our relationship has grown as we’ve shown up for one another, cared for one another, and walked out marriage vows.
I can tell you that my relationship with God today is richer than when I first made a commitment. It has not always been easy, but the difficult moments have shown me who God is and who I am. This relationship has grown and stretched me, and ultimately caused me to fall in love with my Savior in a deeper way.
No matter where you are in the journey, I encourage you to press on and to walk out the love you first felt for Jesus. There is nothing better.