Authentic love: No Bells and Whistles

Authentic Love: No Bells and Whistles, Photo by Joshua Fuller on Unsplash
Authentic Love: No Bells and Whistles, Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

I love you.

When we say it to anyone, there’s no bells and whistles in the phrase per se.

Yet, if we read between the lines through our personal lens about love, we often hear ringing and shrieking.

Sure, computers, electronic gadgets, appliances, and new cars glisten with added enhancements. Retailers have the bells and whistles to match our wishes and wallets.

Yet, when it comes to love, love plus fancy features doesn’t mean more love, but less of love in its purest form.

Who Needs Bells and Whistles?

I was grown with children of my own the first time my biological father said, “I love you.” The telephone conversation is forever etched in my memory.

Still, as much as I wanted to hear my dad tell me he loved me, I needed to believe it. And the reassurance he meant it.

You know what? The same holds true today. My husband can never tell me—or show me—he loves me too many times. For Mike to reassure me of his love takes our relationship to a higher and deeper level. And in turn, I desire to reaffirm my love for Mike and my family.

Even my grandson, three-years-old, knows how to say “love you” and blow kisses. No bells and whistles. Pure and whole-hearted affection.

A crazy idea has floated around for years of spouses or parents with this attitude. “I told you once that I loved you, no need to say it again. If anything changes I’ll let you know.” How sad!

Tired of Bells and Whistles? 

So, what about when it comes to loving our Creator and His Son?

I love You, God.  Jesus, I love You.

Authentic Love: No Bells and Whistles, Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

Because those words rise in my heart and roll off my tongue more often these days. Why? I’m not sure.

Perhaps the heavenly Father is teaching me about a deeper love. And maybe I’m tired of bells and whistles. As with anything, when the shiny wears off, the thrill is gone.

The year 2012 marked a spiritual milestone in my life—written in my journal. I decided to fall head over heels in love with Jesus, loving Him more than anyone or anything. Not only is this kind of love possible, but it’s the desire of God’s heart.

Bells and Whistles or God and Jesus?

2 questions to consider:

1) What’s the greatest commandment?

This question posed to Jesus. “And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39, emphasis mine)

Love God with all

  • Heart- “The center of a person’s thoughts and emotions, especially love or compassion.”
  • Soul- “A person’s moral or emotional nature or sense of identity. The spiritual part of a human being.”
  • Mind- “The element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought. A person’s mental processes, intellect.”

Therefore, every part of me, my whole being, is to love God. That’s the greatest commandment and the greatest love. That kind of love makes the second commandment to love others doable.

Real Love Instead of Bells and Whistles

2) Where does love originate?

1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.” Jesus loved us enough to die for us. But our motivation for falling in love with Christ is not out of guilt.

And loving Christ not for what He accomplished on the cross or what He can do for us in this present life. But because He loves us, we reciprocate.

In his book, Crazy Love, Francis Chan describes it this way. “Our love for Jesus always comes out of his love for us. Are we in love with God or just his stuff?”

To fall in love with Jesus and stay in love with Jesus means giving all of myself to Him alone. Not to the idols or other shiny gods of this world, but to Christ.

In fact, it should be the “norm.” Because falling in love with Jesus isn’t radical Christianity or a Jesus freak, but the heart of a true disciple.

So, as I learn to love God with “all” and focus on loving Jesus and His love for me, authentic love naturally spills over into my other relationships. No matter how troubled or shallow they seem.

Authentic Love: No Bells and Whistles, Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

*All Scriptures ESV.

*Definitions for heart, soul, and mind from Oxford Dictionary online.

Featured photo by Joshua Fuller on Unsplash.

Top photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash.

Middle photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash.

Bottom photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash.

Karen Friday

Whether the spoken or written word, Karen thrives in moving an audience to experience laughter, tears, surprise, and deep reflection. She not only possesses an affection for words (just ask her family), but she also cherishes God’s Word. Karen is an award-winning writer who has published both devotions and articles with a mission to know Jesus more and make Him known. She contributes to several national sites while she works on her first non-fiction book. In the blogging world, she is referred to as “Girl Friday” where she shares a central message: you are never far from hope. And she considers her life as a pastor’s wife and women’s ministry leader a sacred calling. Karen and her husband Mike reside in East Tennessee and have two grown children and two grandchildren. The entire family is fond of the expression, “TGIF: Thank God it’s Friday.” They owe Monday an apology. Connect with her blog community, Hope is Among Us.

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    1. Yes, Melissa, agreed. As we learn to love God with “all” and focus on loving Jesus and His love for us, authentic love naturally spills over into our other relationships.

      Thanks for commenting.

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