Men, Do You Struggle To Sing "I Love You" To Jesus?
"I like to invite friends to church but sometimes I'm worried about what the songs will say. When I was in college, I used to skip the music time when I came to church because I just didn't want to sing love songs to Jesus"
A few weeks ago, after our Sunday night service, I found myself in a conversation with a man I had just met. A husband. A father. A Military man. A long time, committed believer. With grace and tact, he described to me how uncomfortable many men were with singing songs declaring their love for Jesus.
Maybe you can relate. Maybe you've been in church as the worship leader launches into lyrics like:
"Jesus we love you, you are the one our hearts adore" Or "I love you with all of my heart"
Maybe you've thought to yourself "this seems too mushy". "This doesn't seem appropriate". "I can't sing this".
You're not alone. The struggle is real.
The Doctrine Struggle
Unfortunately, there are many worship songs that just fall short. The lyrics are shallow and superficial. The doctrine is incomplete or even worse, inaccurate. If you removed the name of Jesus it could just as easily be a song to your wife or girlfriend.
As songwriters, we sometimes need to dig deeper. As worship leaders, we sometimes need to be more selective.
You may dismiss songs of love for the Lord while waiting for more theologically rich songs. Songs about the Power or Majesty of God.
On The Other Hand
Although there are some unfortunate songs out there, there are many others that are well worth singing.
I agree the church as a whole could use more songs about God's Holiness. More songs about His Splendor and Authority. More songs about His Power and Might. However, there is a time for both rich theology and simple truth. Sometimes we need to come back to the basics.
The Definition Struggle
What does our culture say love is? What have books and movies and songs taught us from childhood? Love is romantic affection. Love is physical attraction. These are often the first things we associate with the word "love".
If you feel these are inappropriate attitudes to have toward the Creator God, the man Jesus Christ, you're right. If you're uncomfortable thinking of Jesus in this way you're not alone!
On The Other Hand
After a moment of consideration, we realize that although you can be romantically affectionate or physically intimate with someone you love these are not what defines your love for them.
What is true love? What is Biblical Love?
- Love is willing to be selfless and sacrificial
- Love is wholeheartedly committed
- Love does not want to hurt or offend
- We think often of the ones we love
- We make their priorities our priorities
- We want to help fulfill their vision and their goals
Men, I hope you love your wives with this kind of love. I hope you love your children with this kind of love. And most of all, I hope you love Jesus with this kind of love.
The Declaration Struggle
Not to stereotype here but let's be honest, guys, we have a hard time declaring our love. To come out and say "I love you" to those closest to us. To make gestures of love in front of others.
Personal honesty time. I don't like to declare my love for my wife on Facebook. On her birthday, on valentines day, on our anniversary I have a hard time writing posts confessing my love for all to see. It's not because I'm embarrassed by my love for my wife. Or because I'm at a loss for what to say. I just feel my words for her are personal. Love is an intimate thing. It's not something everyone needs to be in on.
In a similar way, we men can sometimes struggle to gather with a group of people and sing out loud, in front of everyone, "Jesus I love You!"
On The Other Hand
We are called to be unashamed of our devotion to Jesus. Declarations of our Love for the Lord in public may be uncomfortable for you but is this an area where you may need to grow?
Consider the mighty men of our faith. Men like King David and the Apostle Paul. They wrote words of love to the Lord and descriptions of His love for us to be seen, heard, and read for centuries to come. These very words were divinely inspired by God Himself.
Our Highest Call
In Mark 12:30 Jesus gives us the greatest commandment.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength"
Consider a song like "Depths" by Hillsong Worship. The chorus goes like this.
"I love You with all my heart
I love You with all my soul Lord
I love You with all my strength
With all I have within me"
At first glance, this may seem like a mushy, superficial claim. But this is, in fact, a declaration of obedience to this first and greatest commandment.
So the next time you sing "Jesus I Love You", remember, what you're really saying is:
Jesus, I am devoted to You
Jesus, I will sacrifice for You
Jesus, I desire to honor You
and you may just be inspired to sing a little louder.