Heart Like A Lover, Discipline Like A Monk

Heart Like A Lover, Discipline Like A Monk
Photo by Nathan Dumlao / Unsplash

Love is easiest at the beginning and at the end. 

It's effortless in the honeymoon years, filled with infatuation, touchy, giggly, and smitten—you can't imagine how these days will ever fade. And love is like breathing for the old couple who have spent decades maturing their love to near perfection. 

But what about all those years in between? 

Love in the midst of building a career, raising children, facing monumental problems, and establishing a life—those are the long years when love has to be worked at and fought for. Those are the years when love is won and lost. 

Like love, a faithful relationship with Jesus comes easy at the first and at the last: the sinner and the saint. It's all the years in between, though, that are the important ones—the long years of fidelity and monotonous rhythms of a faithful life. 

As a pastor, I spent hours every week studying God's word. I prepare lessons and teach classes using dynamic illustrations and strategic words. I counsel and pray with weak and hurting people regularly. 

Despite all I do for God and his kingdom, it pales compared to what God wants most from me: a desire to be with Him. To walk, talk, and listen to Him. 

Because in those quiet moments of prayer and listening, it's not about changing the world. It's not about asking God to operate in the world as I want him to. It wasn't even about my issues or needs. There was no function. 

We "waste" time with those we love. 

man sitting on bucket seat while woman on his lap
Photo by Toa Heftiba / Unsplash

Theologian and Christian martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer once offered significant advice to a couple prepared to marry at the altar: "Today, you are young and very much in love, and you think your love can sustain your marriage. It can't. Let your marriage sustain your love."

Our relationship with Jesus is based on love, which means that it cannot endure on the basis of fleeting emotions, sincere intentions, or random outbursts. It's a long, boring, faithful relationship that provides a container for real love to mature and blossom. 

Let this be an encouragement to you. This isn't a boisterous call to a more disciplined, legalistic walk with Jesus. It's a quiet rebellion, a free choice to live our lives according to a different order of love. 

One that is faithful and boring. 

The following was adapted after reading Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools