Laura and I met in fifth grade. We held hands around the roller skating rink. My palms were sweaty after just one circle. My friends gave me high fives afterwards and we went back to playing video games. I was in love.
We’ve now been married twelve years and I look back at that sweaty fifth grader and laugh. Obviously, I didn’t know what love was. It was more an infatuation or mere physical attraction or being excited a popular girl paid me attention. It all seems silly now.
I also chuckle a little bit when I think about the sweaty twenty-four year old that waited for her to come down the aisle. We said our vows and I’m sure I meant them but that young buck had no real clue what love actually is. Back then, love was trying to make her laugh and having lots of sex and taking her out to extravagant dinners. It all seems silly now.
Love, for me now, is about doing the dishes unnoticed. It’s about not trying to fix her problems but just listening. It’s about making her dinner and playing hungry hippos with our kids and putting my phone down and sharing my hopes and fears and being honest.
I can’t help but wonder if in another ten years, I’ll look back at this person now and wonder if he had no idea what love was either. I wonder if I’d laugh to myself and think he was being silly.
The Measurement Of Spiritual Growth
I wonder if following Jesus looks similar to this. What if spiritual growth is less about how much we know and more about expanding our capacity to love? What if God is in the business of gradually and patiently growing our love toward others and himself?
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8
So, do you love others more this year than you did last?
I know it’s a hard question for me as well but maybe it’s the only question that really matters. I know I’d love to look back at myself a year from now and think I was being a little silly.
I can tell God is trying to teach me how to love my homeless neighbors and that never even occurred to me five years ago. I know Laura and I are talking about Foster Care and ten years ago I couldn’t even imagine having children at all. I used to look at porn and think nothing of it and now I realize that’s a daughter of God that is being horribly exploited. I used to approach others about faith as Mr. Answer man and now my posture seems more curious.
Spiritual growth is measured by our capacity to love. Perhaps a healthy growth is looking back at ourselves and laughing a little.(1) What if the same grace that saved us, will also grow us. I can’t help but think about the enormous patience God has on me as I fumble and stumble through this Christianity thing. He must see our lives like someone who is watching a movie but already knows how it will end. Especially when the current scene in the movie is really silly.
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. -Phil. 1:6
May God expand your capacity to love this year. May you be surprised and uncomfortable by who God directs you to love better. May you look back at yourself a year from now and laugh a little.
- This is why Christians who take themselves so damn serious never grow. Sorry, had to get that out of my system.