It was a promise we made to each other when we were first married and, for the most part, a promise we kept throughout 35+ years of marriage. We said we would not turn out the lights at night without saying, “I love you” to each other. And, for more nights than not, we did. For the vast majority of those nights, it was easy to do. For some of those nights, especially those that were at the end of an exhausting day, it likely was more out of habit than as a fresh expression (but hey, as a friend’s mom once told him about the habit of going to church, “At least it will be a good habit”). And, on some nights, it’s what we needed to reset the day, to repent and ask for forgiveness for some tension between us.
Not sure it was THE secret to a happy marriage, but it was one of them.
Came to mind as I read Psalm 116 this morning.
I love the LORD, because He has heard
my voice and my pleas for mercy.
Because He inclined His ear to me,
therefore I will call on Him as long as I live.
(Psalm 116:1-2 ESV)
I love the Lord. You’ll only find that four word phrase here. You’d think you’d find it more often throughout Scripture, but you don’t. That simple expression of fact and feeling is found but once in all the Bible. Oh sure, we are often exhorted in the Bible to love the Lord, but how often do we articulate it? When’s the last time we spoke out loud, “I love the Lord?”
We might thank the Lord, bless the Lord, and worship the Lord. But when’s the last time we told someone, “I love the Lord?” When’s the last time we took a break from our list of people to pray for, and from the many petitions to lift up, just to say to Jesus, “Lord, I love You?”
Or, are we like that proverbial guy who responded to his wife’s complaint that he hadn’t stated his affection for her in a long time by saying, “I told you I loved you when we got married . . . and if anything changes, I’ll let you know.” Ouch!
I love the Lord. Can’t help but think that if those four words were part of our regular vocabulary it would make a difference in our relationship with the risen Christ. That, to be more purposeful in declaring to Him our affection for Him, would only enhance abiding in Him.
I love the Lord as I look again to the cross, the source of my salvation. I love the Lord as I sit at His feet and listen as I open His word, the place of my sanctification.
I love the Lord when I head out to face the day, for He has promised never to leave me nor forsake me.
I love the Lord when times are good. I love the Lord when times aren’t so good. I love the Lord when the way seems clear, and still love the Lord when I’m confused.
I love the Lord when He’s heard my voice and my pleas and answered as I asked Him to. I love the Lord when He hears and His answer is different than what I desired.
I love the Lord, because He first loved me.
I love the Lord. Say it. Say it often. Say it if only out of habit. Say it ideally from the heart.
Just say it.
Because of grace. For His glory.