Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. It’s the day when every seat in every fancy restaurant will be full and when couples who don’t care for restaurants will be preparing nice meals for one another. Flowers will be delivered to offices, gifts will show up in mailboxes, cards will be exchanged.
I am something of a skeptic when it comes to Hallmark holidays, but I do enjoy Valentine’s Day. I have been married to Aileen for fourteen years now and don’t ever resent an excuse to focus on the love we share. When it comes to Valentine’s Day there is really just one thing I want–to spend time with my wife. It’s not the gifts or the fancy meals, but the company that I long for.
I love Aileen and for that reason I love to spend time with her. What’s amazing is that the more time I spend with her, the more I love her. And the more I love her, the more time I want to spend with her. And the more time I spend with her, the more my love grows. And the more my love grows, well, you get the idea. Our delight in one another grows and compounds with the time we invest in each other. That’s the way the Lord has structured relationships. To love is to spend time and to spend time is to love.
As in any marriage, there are times when I find that my love has lost some of its fervor. There are times when the flame does not burn as brightly as it has in times past. When this happens the solution is so simple: I just need to spend time with her. As we spend time together, that love regains its heat. When I stop spending time with her, love grows cold, and when love grows cold I stop spending time with her. The way our relationship weakens is exactly opposite to the way it strengthens.
God has structured our relationship to him in much the same way. I’ve always loved Psalm 1, the perfect preface to the perfect collection of songs. Here David writes about the blessed man, the happy man, and describes him as the man who delights in God’s law and who meditates on it day and night. There are these two expressions of love: delight and meditation, joy and time.
David himself was a man who delighted in God’s law and who meditated on it day and night. In Psalm 119 he could say “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” In Psalm 63 he would declare to the Lord “I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night.” He was a man who loved the Lord and therefore a man who loved to spend time with the Lord, meditating on God’s Word. Meditating on God fueled his delight and that delight led him to more and greater meditation. Which came first and which followed? It hardly matters. The two work hand-in-hand. To love him is to spend time with him and to spend time with him is to love him all the more.
When my love for the Lord begins to grow cold, I will almost always find that I have not been spending time with him in his Word. When I have not been spending time with him in his Word, I will find that my love has grown cold, or lukewarm, at least.
I cannot love my wife without spending time with her and I cannot spend time with her without loving her more. And in much the same way meditating on God’s Word is not only a result of delighting in him, but also a cause of that delight. The lesson, the application, is clear: When you find that your love has grown cold, meditate and delight will follow. Delight and you will meditate all the more.