Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More Like Falling in Love (Jason Gray)

UPDATE: For some reason, my blog has been chopping up my paragraphs and putting them in a different order when I save it. The article should make more sense now.

There’s a song that’s been playing on Christian radio a lot lately, and may be starting to wane, that’s been bothering me since the first time I heard it. It’s called “More Like Falling in Love” by Jason Gray.

If you’ve never heard it, you might guess from the title that it’s one of those “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs, but it’s not. Maybe I’ll write about “The Way You Hold Me” sometime, but this song isn’t along that line.

This song makes an unnecessary conflict between rightly loving God and right belief about God.

Here are the lyrics (boiled down without repeating choruses):
Give me rules, I will break them; show me lines, I will cross them.
I need more than a truth to believe, I need a truth that lives, moves, and breathes.

To sweep me off my feet, it's gotta be more like falling in love than something to believe in, more like losing my heart than giving my allegiance.

Caught up, called out, come take a look at me now. It's like I'm falling, oh, it's like I'm falling in love.

Give me words, I'll misuse them; obligations, I'll misplace them.
'Cause all religion ever made of me was just a sinner with a stone tied to my feet.

It never set me free, it's gotta be… [chorus]

It's like I'm falling in love, love, love, love, deeper and deeper—it was love that made me a believer in more than a name, a faith, a creed—falling in love with Jesus brought the change in me.
To the artist’s credit, he says in the end that “falling in love with Jesus brought the change in me.” To people raised in a church environment with Sunday School answers, catechisms, and verse memorization, it is easy to go through the motions and have the “right answers” without actually believing and knowing God. It isn’t knowledge about God that makes us “wise for salvation” (2 Tim. 3:15), but knowledge of God—knowing Him personally, experientially.

There’s a way to express this truth without denying or attacking the importance of truth in our faith and practice. This song, while trying to emphasize one truth, has crossed the line to the point of denying an equally important truth. The artist upholds emotional experience (e.g. losing my heart, falling in love) over correct belief and practice (e.g. truth to believe, something to believe in, giving my allegiance).

Like it or not, every day with Jesus doesn’t always feel like “falling in love.” Falling isn’t an unending experience. Eventually you land somewhere. If you’re unprepared, the landing will be hard and you’ll become jaded and move on. But if you are prepared, the landing will be a lot softer and you can continue the experience. That’s why I’m thankful for books like Battling Unbelief and When I Don’t Desire God (free PDF) by John Piper.

If I said my relationship with my wife had to be more like “falling in love than making a commitment” she’d rightly be offended. We have a daughter. If we haven’t landed somewhere by now, we’re in a lot of trouble.

Like the commitment of marriage, faith in Christ is not just a feeling, but an allegiance, as the song calls it. If our relationship with Christ is merely “losing our heart” and not “giving our allegiance,” as the song states, it leaves open the strong possibility that something else could come along and capture our heart.

My relationship with God depends more on my allegiance to Him than my feelings because the former is stronger and more stable than the latter. Further, my allegiance to Him is dependent on His saving work in my life, not my own volition, and that’s something I know from the Bible.

I did fall in love with Jesus. And while I continue to grow in my love for Him I seek to know Him more. To remain in a state of falling is merely superficial and lacks commitment—a.k.a. allegiance.

I don’t think we should pit our emotions against our knowledge of God. Without the latter, the former is a cloud without rain.

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