I remember when I saw her the first time. My heart skipped a beat. I experienced my first real crush. It stood a much greater chance of developing into real love than the one I had in third grade. It was the first time I held her hand, during organized marches on a college campus, which we called “vegetarian dancing.” Don’t ask me if the moon was full or what she wore. I have no idea. I only remember the feeling, nothing else. Then there was the time when we came back from the beach in the college bus and she forgot her sweater on the bus. What did I do? Took it with me to my room in the men’s residence for safe keeping until I could return it to her the next day. Did I just toss it onto my desk to remember to return it the next day? No way. I carefully draped it over my pillow, so I could fall asleep with her scent and the promise of sweet dreams. I admit I was totally infatuated.
So, does infatuation play a part in my love for God? Can I have a crush on God? The Bible does talk about us having a “first love” experience. Do you remember what that felt like for you? Were you in love with the Truth as in Jesus, or with the “truth” as a set of doctrines?
Jennifer Schwirzer, in her book, 13 Weeks to Love, recommends seven ways to test for infatuation. I wondered if they could be applied to our love for God too. Here they are:
- The Depth Test: Will what is attractive now still be attractive fifty years later? Will my love for God still hold in the face of extreme suffering, illness, financial failure, etc.?
- The Context Test: Will you still love each other if all your friends move away, or if you move away and no longer have a context of supportive friends? The church family where you were baptized was a warm, loving, and accepting environment, but your new environment may be in a context that seems unfriendly and even openly hostile.
- The Stress Test: The dating period is filled with idealistic situations where everyone puts their best foot forward. What happens when the wedding music has faded, the cake is stale, and the wedding dress will never fit again? Your spouse loses his job, accusations fly, and tempers rise. Stress does not change character, it only reveals it.
- The Logic Test: Are you making decisions with your feelings or with your mind? Is my decision to follow Jesus as my Lord and Savior based upon the emotion of the moment, or the calm reading and meditating upon His Word?
- The Counsel Test: Have you been willing to let others into your intended decision, by soliciting their wise counsel, even if you know they may not like or agree with your decision? Do you listen to what you want to hear and isolate yourself from anything that contradicts your way of thinking?
- The Influence Test: Do we bring out the best in each other when we are together? Do we have the same priorities that capture our passion and focus our attention? The Word says, “You cannot serve God and mammon.”
- The God Test: What is the source of your passion for your lover? Does it simply gush forth from the fickleness of your own impulsive passion, or is it rooted in the creation ordinance of the love relationship with your Maker? Because He loves me, I, too. can love. I love because He loved me first. That is how I know what true love is.
How long have you been married? How has the quality of your love changed over the years? How long have you been a Christian, since you were baptized? Has your love for God stood the test of time? If your initial love was excited infatuation, has that eroded over the years into a dry formality of ups and downs, spotted with sporadic eruptions of frustration, anger, hurt, and the helpless feeling of being trapped? Or has your initial “first love” developed into a healthy, mature love that focuses on service and giving, rather than on self-serving and self-centered attainments that are fleeting and doomed to failure? Are you experiencing loving God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind” (Matthew 22:37)?