The year was 1969. That’s actually a few years before I was born, but growing up as the youngest of five siblings I was blessed with a head full of utterly useless music information from years gone by. His name was Bobby Vinton… and the song was….?
You don’t know?
I’ll give you a hint. To know, know, know you…
That’s right! … is to love, love, love you.
Just to see you smile makes my life worthwhile
To know, know, know you is to love, love, love you
And I do. I do. I do.
This last week that song has played over and over in my mind. I’ll tell you why.
What comes first?
Last Sunday I was asked to speak on the subject of “To love, know and serve”. As I was preparing, it dawned on me how often we ask people to step into a relationship with God without letting them to get to know him first. Who can love someone they don’t know?
I know for a fact that I didn’t love my husband until I met him. Though I may have loved the idea of having someone love me, it wasn’t until I got to know Thomas that I loved him. I told this at the service last Sunday and all the guys were squirming! It was so funny to watch their reaction that I had to pause to let it sink in…! I’m pretty sure they’ll remember it, though. Because it’s true.
We meet, we get to know, and then we grow to love.
So, how is it that we expect people to surrender their lives to Jesus without allowing them to get to know him first?
Experiencing that God is good
The Psalmist invites us to taste and see that the Lord is good, following up with “blessed is the man who trusts in him!”
When you have experienced God’s goodness it’s easy to trust him, because you know he loves you. You may have heard all your life that God is good, that his thoughts for you are peace, future and hope, and that his compassion won’t ever fail.
But it’s not until we personally experience the love of God that we grow to love him.
Remember the woman who came into the house of Simon the Pharisee? The one who cried at Jesus’ feet, dried his feet with her hair, and anointed them with fragrant oil? The men were offended by her actions, as well as by Jesus’ refusal to reject her. But Jesus recognized pure love when introduced to it. He responded to the love that does not seek its own, but loves because it’s impossible not to.
He gives the Pharisee the key to knowing the love of God: She has been overwhelmed by God’s mercy.
She has been forgiven of all her sins. This is why she has shown me such extravagant love. But those who assume they have very little to be forgiven will love me very little. Then Jesus said to the woman at his feet, “All your sins are forgiven”.
Luke 7:47-48, TPT
She had personally experienced the life-altering, mold-breaking, no-turning-back love of Jesus. That’s what made her love! That was the reason for her sacrifice.
When you get to know Jesus, everything changes. Once you see what God has done for you, you cannot stop loving him. When you encounter the One who did not spare his own son, but gave him… for you… instead of you… as you… then the perspective changes.
Walking people home to God
When introducing others to Jesus, make sure not to rob them of the experience of getting to know him for themselves. Let them fall in love with him. Allow for their love to grow as they get to know him.
When you know God, you cannot NOT love him.
To know him is to love him. And I do.
When you love him, you just want to serve him.
Not because you have to, but because you get to.
Pay attention to God’s timing
He’s the Father waiting for his sons and daughters to come home. He doesn’t force them to abandon their sin; he just waits for them to return to their sound mind and start their way back. God doesn’t scare them into surrender or blackmail them into guilt and shame. He loves them all the way back home.
As should we.
We love because we are loved. Let’s just love the hell out of people.