A husband decides to woo his wife, so he takes her out to dinner and gives her a list of the things he loves about her. “All those things are true. Do you see that?” The wife nods. “Well then, you know I love you.” The wife doesn’t swoon. “But everything on this list is true! If you believe the items on this list, then you should be able to accept that I love you!”
This excerpt is from Donald Miller’s Searching for God knows What, which I finished reading a few months ago. But I was reminded of this quote when reading an article about him in “Christianity Today.”
In Searching, Miller critiques formulaic methods on how to become or grow as a Christian. The problem is presented in the above husband-wife interchange. People can just assent to or agree that certain things are in fact true; but this does not lead to love. It just leads to people stating true things about God. I think the Pharisees did that a good bit, and Jesus ‘wasn’t having none of it.’
But we are given the command to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
This does not mean that we reject propositional truth like “Jesus rose from the grave and accomplished salvation for all those who trust in Him.” But rather we read these truths like they were on the next page of a great book. A book, a story, that the Author has included us in.
And so we read the truth like this: “Jesus rose from the grave and accomplished salvation for all those who trust in Him!” These aren’t boring truths that are merely factual, but they are truths woven into the narrative of redemption, and every bit as evocative (emotion) as provocative (thought). The end result of knowing more truth about God is a greater love for Him. Otherwise we just become like the husband in the parable.