Now I Get to Love You in Return
I’ve had the song below on repeat for months now. I do that. I stumble upon some worship song that touches my core and get stuck on it for months on end. The words get seared on my heart. [I hope you’re finding your songs, too, Friend. He has life waiting in specific songs for each of us.]
Anyway, here’s a few of the words:
I am overwhelmed by your affection…
The kindness and the greatness of your love
Now nothing can hold me back from you,
Your love will never let me go
Thank you that we’re living in Your Kingdom
Jesus, you’re the King upon the throne
Thank you for the way you’ve always loved me
…and now I get to love you in return.
Now I get to love you in return. That one line – it sums up what walking with God is meant to be.
It strikes a chord. And not only because of its truth and beauty. But because it’s the opposite of what many of us were taught about the “Christian” life.
So many of us, in our fragile and impressionable state as new believers [or our at-church-every-time-the-doors-were-open childhoods] heard the glorious Gospel about this Risen Lord and Living Word… and we believed. With all of our hearts. And invited Him in.
But then, religion – in its subtle, yet firm insistence – crept in and dumbed down our expectations. The Risen Lord and Living Word became more about earnest reading material than here and now realities. The Holy Spirit remained a vague and mostly avoided third member of the Godhead.
And the idea of walking intimately with God – something that was alive when our faith was young – got exchanged for engaging in Christian activities. A good believer, we were taught [sometimes through literal words but mostly through unspoken “teaching”] is someone who gets really involved at church. Learns to serve. Volunteers. Does the mission trips. Rarely misses a service. Learns to tithe. Stops doing the overtly bad things. And maybe even gets brave enough to talk about Jesus with others.
Nice, well-meaning language surrounded this silent teaching. And everyone around us seemed to buy in. Knowing Him wasn’t really the point, but rather, engaging church life in the expected way. Over time, what we hungered for in the beginning was reduced in our minds to “immature” [ or even “non-Biblical”] thinking. Our spark was all but snuffed out.
Every now and then, though, the wind would blow and that spark swelled again. It might have been during conversation. Or a tiny whisper we thought might be Him. Maybe there is more to Him we’d think. Maybe He really can be known. Maybe I was onto something real in the beginning.
Friend, you were.
That spark inside of you is real. It’s from Him. And it’s that spark to which this song is speaking. There is more to Him… and there’s more for us.
“Now I get to love You in return”
We get to love Him back. That was His invitation to us from the very beginning. To love Him back, really. With all that we are.
To say ‘yes’ to this wild adventure He wants to take us on –
where we hear His voice,
are beckoned out of our comfort zone into the unknown,
receive life and true understanding from His Word,
move beyond understanding it to wielding it as a weapon,
are led to green pastures and quiet waters,
and enjoy conversational intimacy with Him.
An adventure where knowing Him, hearing Him, comes first.
And our “actions” flow from this place of intimacy rather than arbitrary, human obligation.
This is not immature thinking. This is the Gospel.
“In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons
through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will –
to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us
in the One he loves.”
“Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal,
the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance…”
“In Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near
through the blood of Christ.”
“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power…
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge –
that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
“Do not get drunk on wine…
Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”
Friends, He was delighted to make us His sons and daughters and has freely given us grace to live as dearly loved children. He marked us by depositing His Spirit inside of us – that’s the spark you feel. The little thing inside that tells you there has to be more to Him.
And if we’ll let Him, He’ll become way more than a little spark. He’ll grow into an all-consuming flame. He will fill us to brim with the real thing. We won’t need alcohol or any other false comfort for joy – we’ll be filled to overflowing with the Reality that little spark whispered of.
We’ll get to love Him back. By knowing Him and being His…and only doing from a place of intimacy.
Father, show us how.
Uproot any religion that’s crept into our hearts
and kept us from knowing You, from being free in You.
Open our eyes and hearts to what is really ours in You.
Grace us to get to know You.
Grace us to go on Your adventure.
Photo by spaceameoba