not my only Love.
I’m a junkie for love songs. However, as I’ve gone along down this road of life, I’ve also realized that a fair amount of love songs bug me. Why? Because they leave out God.
While I love finding God in the lyrics of songs, the fact of the matter is that most artists leave God out of their love songs. We sing about our beloved as if they are the only person on earth. Matt Maher sings, “So come closer, right here forever, deep in my heartbeat, together as one, my only love.” We sing about our beloved as if they are the end all be all, our only chance to hope or happiness, and without them we’ll be as good as dead. We sing that they are our “baby”, our only heart, the reason we ever bother to sing. I can’t help but think that such a distorted view of love is messing with our heads.
When we sing that we’d take a grenade for someone, or that we’d simple cease to exist if they ever left us, we place that person in the position of God. We may love that special someone in our lives like we love no one else, but that doesn’t mean that they are our only love. The truth is that if we only have one love, I want mine to be God, period, end of discussion. Of course I have a desire for marriage, but that desire is second to my desire for God. If ever my desire for marriage or the love that I have for my future husband is bigger or more important than my love for God then I have failed, and failed miserably. Loving my spouse more than God won’t make me a perfect lover, if anything it will make me a worse lover, partner, and spouse. Loving my earthly spouse, important though that may be, is never more important than loving my heavenly spouse. As C.S. Lewis so brilliant writes it,
“When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. In so far as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God and instead of God, I shall be moving towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.”
We may love our significant other as if they are the stars to our night sky, the rainbow to our thunderstorm, or the pollinating honeybee to our blooming flower, but they will never be our God. If we begin to love them as if they are our God, it won’t lead to happiness and joy, rather, it will lead to frustration, hurt feelings, and disappointment. Only when we love God better than we love our earthly dearest will we ever learn to love as we ought: in imitation of His service. We love because He first loved us, so if we aren’t letting Him love us first (and loving Him first in return), then what are we doing?
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I hadn’t seen that clip of Matt’s – thanks for sharing it!
I LOVE changing the words of songs on the radio to be about Jesus/God, it makes you think about them in a completely different way and opens your eyes to see God’s passionate love for you!
Thank you so much, that means a lot to me! I love Matt’s song, but it is so important to remember who we love first 🙂
There’s a joke about a lot of contemporary praise songs being “Jesus is my boyfriend” worship because you could sing them to your boyfriend without changing any words. This point was driven home when I was at our end of the year retreat for Intervarsity and a group of Young Life kids from Colorado were doing worship in the annex, singing a song with the words “you are my fortress”. The only problem: it sounded like “you are my boyfriend”.
This definitely hits home! Unfortunately, I’ve found myself guilty of things in the last paragraph before.
Two things about the songs:
1) To defend Matt Maher’s “My Only Love”: Matt has shared before (see Youtube link, skip to 5:00 if you’d like) that the night that the song had been written, he heard in his heart God saying, “That’s not about a man loving a woman as much as it is about Me loving you, about Me loving the Church.”
2) In the past, my friends and I have changed the words of songs on the radio. We enjoy taking out the beloved’s “you” and replacing with “Jesus” or “God”. It makes for much holier songs!
Amanda, God truly works through your blog entries. Thanks for the reminder that God needs to be loved first above all, even if we desire to meet “Mr. Right.”