Stay in love.
I tell the girl that in a hardly voice, the kind of voice that comes from a primal place.
Though, truth be told, she tells me she doesn’t know if she had ever found that love place in the first place — which, yeah, makes it relatively hard to stay in love.
“I don’t think I’ve ever loved Jesus. So I don’t know what it means to stay in love with Jesus?”
I swallow hard — oh.
“Jesus has been about getting into heaven.
Jesus have been about getting saved.
Jesus has been about getting good.” She’s numbering off what she knows on her glossy red fingernails.
How in the world did Jesus get to be our check-off list, these rungs on a ladder, the morality we pull on to dress for success?
When Jesus is been about getting into heaven, getting saved, getting good, Jesus isn’t a passion in your life, He’s a tool in your toolbox — and tools can get flippantly tossed. Anybody can buy any old hammer in any aisle of Walmart.
When Jesus is been about getting into heaven, getting saved, getting good —
Jesus is only merely useful to you — when He longs to be ultimately beautiful to you.
Her eyes are searching mine, more than a bit desperate.
“I thought Christianity was about getting into heaven, getting saved, getting good — No one ever told me that Christianity was about staying in love.”
Falling in love, staying in love? That’s what seduces across the radio waves. That’s what the lingerie catalogues woo us with, what the billboards tease us with, what the MTV videos hard sell.
When the world’s selling goods dressed up as love while the church is selling law dressed up as good news —– guess where the next generation starts lining up?
Looking into the eyes of this hardly twenty-something girl, it’s about as crystal clear as it gets:
Our faith better be deeply connected to our senses and our heart, or a sensual world will destroy our faith and steal our heart.
If Jesus hasn’t passionately wooed you — the world eventually, definitely will.
She tells me her exam schedule and what lipstick she thinks is best for spring and she tells me that she’s still going to church with a bunch of kids from her dorm but everyone is hooking up and she just tells me straight up: “Look, we all just want to follow our hearts…”
On the wall right behind her, I’ve got taped up #JesusProject memory verses:
“I seek not my own will but the will of Him who sent me…
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about ME.”
And all I can think is: Unless Jesus has all our heart, we don’t want to follow where our hearts will lead us at all.
Unless you fall in love with Jesus — you fall into debated regulations.
Unless you fall in love with Jesus —– you fall into dead religion.
Unless you fall in love with Jesus — you fall into dreaded rules.
Unless you fall in love with Jesus, you end up having an affair with the world.
We sit by the front window and I pour her a cup of steaming tea and I tell her what I’ve tasted: how the earth under our feet, the spring rains coming down on our faces and the stars spinning all around us in all this brazen glory: this is for us, us, us.
These are for you—gifts—these are for you—grace—these are for you—God, so count the ways He loves, a thousand, more, never stop, and feel it in your veins, and taste it on your lips, and feel it before you die, or you die — the wooing love of God.
There’s a cross on the table. There’s a back hunched in this staying, remaining, iron love. Gaze on that Cross —- see those arms spread eternally wide open. Who ever loved us like this, to death? to life?
I can feel it — and we have to feel it — He’s writing it into the world, in His Word, in a thousand ways, the way you stay in love:
You’re more than your hands do.
You’re more than your hands have.
You’re more than how other hands measure you.
You are what is written on God’s Hands:
Safe. Held. His. Beloved.