The idea that 'being in love' is the only reason for remaining married really leaves no room for marriage as a contract or promise at all. If love is the whole thing, then the promise can add nothing; and if it adds nothing, then it should not be made. The curious thing is that lovers themselves, while they remain really in love, know this better than those who talk about love. As Chesterton pointed out, those who are in love have a natural inclination to bind themselves by promises. Love songs all over the world are full of vows of eternal constancy. The Christian law is not forcing upon the passion of love something which is foreign to that passion's own nature: it is demanding that lovers should take seriously something which their passion of itself impels them to do.
And, of course, the promise, made when I am in love and because I am in love, to be true to the beloved as long as I live, commits me to being true even if I cease to be in love. A promise must be about things that I can do, about actions: no one can promise to go on feeling in a certain way. He might as well promise never to have a headache or always to feel hungry.
C. S. Lewis
This quote from Lewis came across my heart this past week and God affirmed something He had shown me a few years ago...
"You can serve someone and not be in love with them, but if you are in love with someone, you can't not serve them – and it doesn't feel like service."
That is what is so great about a promise or a pledge, a declaration or vow... they express a deep feeling and experience that one is having at a certain time, and no matter the circumstances or conditions over time, change though they will, the promise will remain. What Lewis is declaring, and what I hope we can express as believers in love with God, is The promise comes after the falling in Love.
I find as I look back on my journey that most of the Christianity I knew was more of a commitment of service to God rather than a being in Love with God and if it were a marriage, it would be far more related to an arranged marriage than one of two lovers who have chosen one another because they simply could not help it. I find being in Love with God and being Loved by God far more glorious than just feeling a certain way, though feeling and experiencing Him are what Love between two persons is about. And because He is love, Love is the greatest joy of our lives. Love is what we are made for and He is where our hearts find their home.
Dear God, Holy Trinity, we praise your name and we declare your matchless glory and love, beauty and strength. You are glorious and we again pledge our hearts and our lives to you this day. Thank you for loving us, choosing us, and bringing our hearts home. You are our home and we belong to you.
Father, we thank you for rescuing us with your love and for growing us, teaching us and inviting us again and again into love. You are love and we declare, we need your love. Train us up, Father, in the ways of love, the tender and the fierce, saying and doing the loving thing. Give us courage to love. Thank you for the trials and the challenges we face that invite us to choose love. We trust you and place our faith and confidence in you as provider and protector, believing that you are always at work in us and through us.
Jesus, thank you for modeling a life of Love, for revealing what it looks like to be loved by the Father, and to love the Father with a whole heart. Jesus, fill our hearts again with your love that we might pour out our lives into the lives of others. Thank you for the Cross, the symbol of Love, and thank you for the Resurrection, the declaration that Love Wins! We give both the Cross and the Resurrection their rightful and glorious place in our Love Story. Giving you claim to our lives, ransoming us and freeing us from sin and death and into Life and Love.
Holy Spirit, thank you for guiding us into all truth... your love is true and is the answer to all the world's problems. We pray against the kingdom of darkness and all guilt, shame, fear, and hatred. We bring your Love and light against all darkness and the spiritual battle that ensues everyday all around us demonstrated by hate. Holy Spirit, protect and provide the spiritual weapons we need to bring light to darkness, we claim these weapons in the name of Christ for the deliverance of hearts captive to darkness. Equip Zoweh and its team and allies with the arsenal of love that overcomes evil. Precious Holy Spirit, fill us with you, fill us with love, and train us up in how to love, turning from judgement and compromise to settled hearts and loyal promises needed to advance your cause and Kingdom.
We declare, WE LOVE YOU and truly love being Loved by you. Amen and AMEN.