“I love you...” These three words have been tossed around more flippantly than a frisbee on a carefree Saturday afternoon. They have been spoken countless times with little or no mind, emotion, or meaning behind them. In fact, bouquets of roses, bowed knees of proposal, even shouting matches and fits of rage have accompanied these words. Since the beginning of time careless, thoughtless people have dispensed “I love you’s” like cheap candy or dime store trinkets.
Yet on the flip side, “I love you,” has passed through millions of mouths with such truth, feeling, and sincerity, they have moved grown men to tears. Obviously, these words were meant to hold much more meaning than they often do today.
How could three small words mean so much to some people and absolutely nothing to many, many more? What was this phrase originally intended to convey? Were the exact same words meant to express our intense adoration for a spouse or child and our love of pizza? And what makes the difference in the delivery of these simple, yet poignant words?
Clearly, it’s the heart and intention hidden behind this common phrase that determines the weight of its understanding. “I love you,” was meant to be delivered with deep purpose, utter transparency, and intensity. But why?
More than any other reason, I believe the words “I love you” were created so we humans could fully express and receive (to the fullness of our abilities) the intense love of our Creator and Savior God. These words were intended to be the verbal conduits traveling from our mouths to the Lord’s heart, and back down from His voice to our ears. They were made to kiss the ears of our gracious and merciful God...our Abba Father.
Sure, God is unfathomably complicated and His ways are clearly high above ours, yet this mysterious God is strangely similar to us. He wants to be loved, desired, sought after, and understood. The Almighty longs to be pursued by those who make it their eternal mission to run after His heart and the things that mean the most to Him.
After all, our Creator formed us out of the intense love that makes up His very being (1 John 4:16). Majestic God simply wants to be loved by someone who intentionally chooses to love Him for who He is, not just the miraculous wonders He pulls off for His Beloveds.
Doesn’t that sound familiar? Isn’t that how you and I dream of being loved and spoken to? Don’t we long to hear the words, “I love you,” pouring out of lips that really mean them? Don’t we desire to be pursued by those who long to know us for the true “us” deep inside?
“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.” Ephesians 5:1 (MSG)
But what can we, who are broken and flawed, really offer this perfect God? Simply put, we can present our love and life’s devotion. We can send forth our voices. God is yearning to hear us shout, declare, cry out, and even whisper three unadorned words, “I love you...” He doesn’t want them shot out as a result of our daily checklist, religious duties, or any other loaded intentions. Our Father longs to hear those words brought to Him the same way we humans desire them to be – spoken with true meaning and devotion.
With those thoughts now in mind, don’t the words, “I love you,” suddenly take on a whole new depth? Their weight and authenticity can be detected from quite a great distance. Listen closely...
“I love you, GOD— you make me strong. GOD is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight.” Psalm 18:1-2 (MSG)
“I love you, LORD; you are my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.” Psalm 18:1-2 (NLT)
These phrases of profound truth and authenticity are perfect examples of how “I love you,” was meant to be spoken.
Today’s commission is simple. In your own unique words and ways, express to God how much you love Him; demonstrate how much He means to you. Lavish your adoration upon the God of the Universe, and let Him bask in your offerings of praise.
During this time of conversation with God, I challenge you ~ don’t ask a single request of Him, simply allow the Lord to sit and absorb your sweet, tender expressions. And don’t forget to take the liberty of sending along that matchless phrase that most readily melts the heart of your Creator, Savior and Friend. Those three simple words, “I love you...”
“So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover's life...a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9 (MSG)