But Do You WANT To Do It?
The day before I got married, my older brother gave me a very interesting piece of advice. He had been married for a few years by the time I got married, and so I decided to ask him what he thought the secret was for a happy marriage. He had an answer ready to go almost before I finished asking the question. I eagerly listened as my brother explained that getting along with your wife comes from understanding the primary difference between how men and women look for agreement.
My brother went on to explain that generally speaking, when there is a disagreement between a man and woman, the woman will want the man to not simply SAY he agrees, she also wants him to truly desire whatever he is agreeing to do. In other words, most women want a change of heart. On the other hand, generally speaking, men will simply look for agreement, and the only thing most men want to hear is the word “yes”. They don't really care if there is a change of heart or not.
So an example would be that when my wife wants me to watch Hallmark movies with her, she doesn't just want me to say "yes" - she wants me to WANT to watch those movies as well. However, when I want her to watch football with me, I don't really focus on whether or not she desires to watch football - I'm simply wanting her to say "yes".
When I first heard this so-called “wisdom" from brother I thought he was oversimplifying the very complicated relationship between the sexes. However, over the years his theory has proven to be true in my marriage. As I was thinking about that this morning it occurred to me that in this regard God displays more of what my brother classified as a "traditionally female trait" - because God doesn't simply want our words, He wants a change of our hearts. Deuteronomy 6:5 makes this clear when it tells us to, "love the Lord your God with all your heart”.
It's a command that Jesus repeats in Matthew 22:37 in an effort to help us understand that God isn't simply looking for us to SAY we love Him. Instead, He wants our hearts to really, truly desire Him. And just like my wife knows when I'm trying to get by with only my words, God does as well - which means that we can't pretend. God puts it like this in Isaiah 29:13, where He says, “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is useless.” Pretending does not work with God.
The truth is that, while we might be tempted to spend our time making sure we're saying the right things about God and about our Christian lives, God is going to be looking to see what is actually going on in our hearts. So today, let’s make sure that what we're saying is what's actually happening in our hearts. Let’s not just say we love God, and love others. Let’s not just say that we want to be obedient to God. Instead, let’s allow God to transform us so that those are the things that our hearts truly desire as well.