Don’t Fall in Love. Grow!
One of the most precious dialogues you’ll ever witness in any movie takes place in Mr. Holland’s Opus. In the scene, the wife of the main character, Jack Holland, reveals to him that she’s pregnant (when they weren’t trying).
He’s clearly in shock upon hearing the news, which of course, is never the sort of reaction an unexpectedly expectant mother is looking for from her husband.
But then he makes the “save.”
He starts off by telling her about the first time he heard a record from jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. (Coltrane wasn’t just a jazz musician; he pioneered modal jazz, a newer, more avant-garde form of jazz.) Jack confessed that he didn’t like Coltrane at first, but he listened to it again and again and again and eventually he grew to love it – a lot.
Then he says these words: “You tell me we’re going to have a baby; and that’s like hearing John Coltrane for the very first time all over again.” To which she replies, “If that’s a lie, it’s the sweetest lie I’ve ever heard.” (And he’s out of the doghouse.)
Oh that I could convince you in this short lesson: if you will read God’s word again and again and again, you’ll grow to love it more than John Coltrane. You’ll grow to love it more than your favorite artist, song, movie, person, place or thing. Give it time!
- Ezekiel can go back and forth between sounding like some spacey jazz number and the deepest, darkest blues you ever heard; but the more I read it the more I get it.
- The Proverbs can seem Pollyanna at first glance, but mine them for all they’re worth.
- Ecclesiastes can come across morose, but meditate on it.
- Then consider Proverbs and Ecclesiastes together in tension; both dripping with the thoughts of God, thoughts so much higher than our own.
- The gospels seem to contradict one another on first read, but keep studying and their harmony will rival that of the finest symphony.
Trust me. If you will give it time, you will grow to love God’s word. After all, it was written by someone who loved you with an everlasting love, before you ever knew Him; a God who patiently woos you with grace and truth and mercy.
To tell the truth, when I first met my wife, I did not think, “Wow! She’s amazing! I must have her! She must be mine YESTERDAY!” (And the feeling – or lack thereof – was mutual on her part.)
The “love-at-first-sight” thing has marked the beginning of many a happy marriage, but for Julie and me it was a slow burn. The more I got to know Julie, the more I found I liked her. Instead of falling in love, it felt more like growing in love.
I always thought she was cute, but at some point after a couple years I looked at her and realized she was truly beautiful! I always liked her sense of humor (probably because she always seemed to get my own, even when others didn’t), but a comedic equal does not necessarily a good marriage partner make; so we had many a satirical duel before I decided I’d like to spar with her for life.
The ultimate selling point for me was her vibrant and growing relationship with God. She truly loved Him, sincerely wanted to know Him and intensely desired to be near Him. It took a long time of knowing Julie to authenticate her walk of faith. And she was spending that same time analyzing my walk.
Many a Christian can talk the talk and even walk the walk for many miles, but measuring one’s spiritual maturity is not done with a slide rule and calculator. It’s done over time.
It’s my belief that many people grow to love God’s word in the same way. They appreciate it at first, like to spend a little time with it. But it’s only over time, living in the word, that the “words” begin to come to life.
[If this post hit you between the eyes like an “arrow of divine truth,” you need to know something. God has more to tell you! This is an excerpt of the 2nd book in our discipleship series: Beyond Sex & Salvation. So seriously consider purchasing a digital copy and you will learn three key life disciplines for relational success; habits best best forged BEFORE you fall in love. Even before you date! Find out more or purchase the book at this link.]
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.
Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.
Even better? And ask a rock star married couple you respect to lead it!
[originally published: May 9, 2013]