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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