We have romanticized love in western civilization. We have changed the idea of love as only an emotion of the heart. Love can only be felt if it is from the heart. When the head becomes involved it is no longer love but something else. We are told to let our heart rule the relationship. We are told follow where the heart goes and don’t let the head get in the way. We are to ride the waves of the fickleness of the heart and the heart will lead us to a happy place with a soulmate. And that love will conquer the world, or at least the part of the world the lovers inhabit.
But the heart always fails. The heart will always deceive. The heart confuses love with lust. We physically lust after someone and believe we love them, and the act of sexual intercourse confirms that belief and we swept away on the high of emotions that are entangled around us. But soon our emotions wane and the heart grows cold and we search for a new lover to lust after. So becomes one who follows solely the lead of the heart.
And this is how we live out our love for God, or our idea of God. We chase after teachers who teach us new and fantastic ways that God loves us. New ways that have never been known before and now have been revealed to this prophet by Jesus Himself in a vision as they sat on their yacht. Jesus came down and sat on the deck chair next the prophet and detailed the message He wanted the profit prophet to share. We chase after it because we want to believe that if God really loves then He will shower us with money and the things that money can buy. Our God will give to us what our heart covets and lusts.
This is not the love Jesus displayed in the gospels. Jesus did have multiple mansions or a fleet of yachts or a caravan of camels and donkeys with which to carry His material wealth. “Foxes have hole but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” Jesus was a sojourner as we should be sojourners. His physical needs were met as He trusted in His God the Father to meet those needs. He did not worry about where He would sleep or what He would eat. He concerned Himself with demystifying the message of God and deconstructing the traditions of men that have been built around the Law of God.
Am I saying that we must eschew the physical world and become ascetics? Not at all. We must be what we are called to be, ambassadors for the gospel. We are to live as we believe the will of God has determined us to live but to not desire the wealth of this world. We are to believe that all is temporary and all to be used for the sake of the gospel. All is surrendered to Christ, not just the body. Christ must be loved “with all our mind, all our soul, all our heart and with all our strength, and to love our neighbors more than we love ourselves”.
Romantic love is a self-serving love. It does not care about one’s neighbor nor does it care about anything else but the two people involved in the relationship. As a Christian we should avoid that kind of love. We are to love our wives with all our minds, souls, hearts and strength, just as we love our Lord and Savior, and just as He loves us. If our love only involves one or two components then that is not love.
Jesus is not some sweet lover who whispers sweet nothings in our ears and giggles when we disobey Him and fall into sin. He expects our love to bring about obedience as He instructs His disciples in the Gospel of John, and obedience is not something that comes just from the heart, it involves the mind and soul and strength.
We must not fall into the trap of romanticizing our love, for our wives or for our Lord and Savior. When we do we will become like Israel, chasing and whoring after everything but the One we should be dedicated to, the One who brought us out of the bondage of sin and is leading us into the Promised Land to come. Into His eternal rest.