Why You Shouldn’t Fall in Love with Jesus

proposal

I deaned a week of church camp this summer. While explaining the rules, the camp president told the students they weren’t allowed to date during the week. Then he clarified, “Unless you date Jesus. This week, Jesus is asking you out.”

His clarification reveals a fad that is undermining discipleship – the fad of “falling in love with Jesus.” Christians describe their conversion as when they fell in love with Him, and they share the gospel so others might fall in love with Him too. Spiritual growth is defined as falling deeper in love with Him.

A bestselling Christian book compares Jesus’ invitation in Luke 9:23 – “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” – to a romantic pursuit. The author explains, “The best way to understand what Jesus is wanting from us as followers is to compare how we pursue him to how we would pursue someone with whom we want to have a romantic relationship” (Not a Fan, p. 130).

I have been a Christian my entire life, but I have never fallen in love with Jesus. And I never will.

A Flawed Trend
Jesus doesn’t want us to fall in love with Him. The whole idea is flawed in several ways. First, it’s unbiblical. The Bible never tells us to fall in love with Jesus. He doesn’t say, “Fall in love with me.” He says, “Follow me.” This is not at all a proposal or an invitation to a romantic pursuit.

Second, it only produces emotion. Falling in love is an emotional high, not an actual commitment. When Jesus says “follow me,” He is demanding total commitment that is evidenced by leaving all else behind. Romantic feelings do not fulfill this demand.

Third, it limits our vocabulary for discipleship. The Bible uses a variety of verbs to describe our devotion to Jesus. It tells us to love, obey, serve, honor, represent, and witness to Him. Spiritual growth should be measured by these metrics. “Falling in love with Jesus” replaces the Bible’s standards for growth with a vague, immeasurable feeling.

What Jesus Really Wants
The idea of falling in love with Jesus seems strange to me. My romantic love is for my wife and her alone. He doesn’t get that from me.

But what He does get from me is so much deeper. He gets my fierce allegiance and unwavering obedience. I am willing to die in service to His kingdom. I will go wherever He tells me to go and do whatever He tells me to do.

This is what He really wants. This is what it means when He tells us to “come after” Him.

How have you noticed this trend of “falling in love with Jesus”? Leave your thoughts with a comment below!

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9 thoughts on “Why You Shouldn’t Fall in Love with Jesus

  1. I would so manytimes described my relationship with God in the same way and either others would not understand it and it really didn’t feel like that because there was always something more to fallow in Christ and more to following God. Thank you for sharing.

  2. This is very good. I enjoy when I am reminded that we often simply follow what others say, even if it’s not Biblical. Sometimes what we repeat sounds right but we should caution ourselves in the way we try to explain having a relationship with Jesus. Very good post. Thanks!

  3. But even if God doesn’t want us to”fall in love”with Him, there’s a reason He calls us His children, and calls the Church His Bride. It’s not romantic like a marriage but clearly Jesus calls for us to love Him as a friend, father, and mentor while we continue to follow His commands and serve Him. “I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as the LORD.”
    ‭‭Hosea‬ ‭2:19-20‬ ‭
    “When that day comes,” says the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’ instead of ‘my master.’”
    ‭‭Hosea‬ ‭2:16‬ ‭
    “I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.”
    ‭‭Hosea‬ ‭6:6‬ ‭

    • I agree. The Bible calls us Jesus’ bride to symbolize the unity and intimacy of our relationship with Him. But it’s always the people of God as a whole who are referred to as His bride, not individual believers. This imagery cannot be used to argue that someone should fall in love with Jesus.

  4. I appreciate this! I also don’t see being in love as emotional- but this may be my personal perspective and a matter of semantics. Being in love with my husband is far from emotional. Romance can be emotional, but the way I view my being in love with him is my choosing him day after day. I am also in love with my children, and many of my dear friends (and I make sure they know it!). So, I think for me this is a matter of semantics. But it is certainly important to distinguish between romantic love and the choice to deny ourselves daily, crucifying our flesh moment to moment because of our fierce love of Christ and our deliberate choice to follow Him. Romance dies out. True deliberate love should not. God’s certainly does not.

    • Then I would say you use “in love” to mean actual love. But even so, there’s still romantic and sexual desire in your love for your husband that isn’t there for anyone else. That’s what I’m talking about in this post. People shouldn’t say they’re “in love” with Jesus because it implies a romantic relationship.

      It could just be an inconsequential “matter of semantics,” and I know you don’t mean any harm. But Christians often use this as an excuse to avoid critical thinking. We need to be deliberate about using biblical language. And we need to understand there are right and wrong ways to speak about our relationship with God.

  5. Always love your thoughts on things Zack. Not sure I’m 100% in agreement with you on this one. I think this is a matter of interpretation of the word love.
    I’ve read Kylie’s book multiple times and found it to be a great read and actually gets to the core of what it takes to be a Christian. While I could do without the comment about the pursuit of a mate, I’m not sure it is relative to the overall theme of the book. But maybe I need to read it again to be sure

    • I didn’t say Not a Fan isn’t a great book. Neither did I say his comment represents the teaching of the entire book. But he made the comment, so I felt free to cite it. The fact that a book that “gets to the core” of being a Christian could speak this way shows how prevalent this trend is, and why it needs to be confronted.

      Since you feel free to disagree with me, I feel free to ask – where does the Bible tell us to fall in love with Jesus? Does it ever even suggest the idea in different words? On what are you basing your disagreement? You say this “is a matter of interpretation.” Of course it is! I’m arguing that many misinterpret Jesus when He tells us to love Him. They interpret it as falling in love with Him. But what He really means is obeying Him (John 14:15).

      It bothers me when Christians think matters of interpretation are unimportant. Or when they try to dismiss them as “issues of semantics.” There are correct and incorrect ways of thinking about our relationship with God. Matters of interpretation are very important, because they inform (or misinform) our obedience – which is the love Jesus truly wants.

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