A Natural Overflow
“She is beautiful! I love her smile and the way her eyes light up when she laughs.”
I couldn’t stop talking about Jayne. I was on an overnight hiking excursion with Sam, the pastor of our church. I was serving as the youth pastor, my first full-time position since graduating from college. I had been in Seattle for only a short time when I met her. She stopped by my house with a friend of hers who attended our church, and as I watched her walk up the sidewalk to the porch, it seemed as if God whispered, “That’s going to be your wife.” I wasn’t sure if that was a wishful dream or if it was God. Regardless, I couldn’t get her off my mind.
Jayne and I had been seeing each other for about a month, and all I could do was talk about how wonderful she was. “She loves Jesus! And she has a great dad who loves the Lord as well. He’s a great man! He loves to laugh. His whole face lights up when he does! In fact, she’s a lot like him. Her face lights up when she laughs as well. She’s amazing! I love being with her!”
“All right, all right, it’s obvious you love the girl. Marry her!” Sam exclaimed. He was getting tired of hearing about her constantly, but I couldn’t help it. I was in love!
You talk about what you love. Everyone does.
First-time parents are constantly posting pictures of their newborns, capturing everything on video, and documenting every detail on social media: “We changed her first diaper!”; “He smiled for the first time at 9:05 a.m. Tuesday”; and “He started to crawl!” It’s actually funny to be Facebook friends with first-time parents. At some point, I want to say: “He’s a human. Of course he’s going to do those things. Most every human who has ever existed has eventually done those things. It’s what humans do. Your kid isn’t that special!” Of course, I never do that, because Jayne and I did the exact same thing with our kids. We constantly took pictures, shot video, and documented every move. We talked about our kids to everyone. Its what you do when you love someone or something.
Do you know people who love sports? You know it if they do. I love the Seahawks, Seattle’s professional football team, and you’d know that if you hung out with me for a few days. Do you know people who love finding a good deal? I’m sure you hear about it when they do. What about work? People who love their work talk about it a lot.
Jesus said that it is out of the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). What comes out of your heart displays what’s in it and what has captured it.
Do you talk about Jesus? Has he captured your heart? Do you love him?
When you come to know and experience the love God has for us in Jesus; when you realize that God loved us so much that he was willing to suffer and die for our sins, even though we were his enemies; when you meet Jesus and experience him pouring out his Spirit into your heart, filling you with himself and his love, you can’t contain it. You have to talk about it!
It Is Good News
The gospel is incredible! The word gospel literally means “good news.” Is it good news to you?
What do you get most excited about? What has most captured your affections? Be honest for a moment. What is it? Who is it? And why has it or he or she captured your heart?
And if your affections have been captured, how have you been affected? What do you do in light of your heart being captured?
Most importantly, has Jesus captured your affections? Why or why not? Are you impressed with him?
It will show, you know. If he has captured your affections, you will not be able to stop talking about him.
“What if I’m not very captured by him?” you might be asking yourself. “What if my affections are much stronger for lesser things?”
That is one of the reasons I talk and write about Jesus so much. I’m convinced many are not aware of how great he is and how amazing his love and grace are to us. So I talk about him. I want people to know those things.
You Love What You Talk About
Another reason I talk about Jesus is that I’ve found you not only talk about what you love, but you also love what you talk about.
Sometimes our love grows cold. Our hearts lose affection. We forget what we have, so we drift from what we love.
I found this to be true in my marriage. Yes, I did marry that beautiful twenty-year-old blonde whom I couldn’t stop talking about on that hiking trip. Jayne and I have been married for more than twenty-three years at the time of this writing. And she is more beautiful to me now than ever.
However, there have been days, even weeks or months, in our marriage when I forgot her beauty. I haven’t always cherished her. My affections have not always been stirred up for her. In fact, there was a season when my love for ministry and work rivaled my love for Jayne. During that time, I didn’t talk about her in the same way as I did along the trail with Sam.
Do you talk about Jesus? Has he captured your heart? Do you love him?
So what did I do when I realized what had happened?
I started pursuing her again. I remembered what I loved about her. I went back to that day when I met her and my heart was caught off guard and captured. I reminded myself and others how beautiful, godly, wise, and amazing this woman I married is. I remembered how unworthy and blessed I was to have received such an incredible gift as Jayne. I thanked God for her every day—sometimes many times throughout a day. I started watching her more closely, paying attention to her words, her movements, her acts of kindness, her smile, and her tireless servant’s heart that gives so much to me, our children, and countless others in need regularly.
And I was captured once again. I still am. Even as I am writing, my heart is swelling up with affection for my lovely bride. She is amazing! I could go on and on.
I’ve discovered that you love most what you talk about most.
What do you talk about most?
If you lack love for Jesus and want your love for him to grow, start talking about how amazing he is. Talk to yourself about him. By the way, you won’t be alone in this venture because he sent his Spirit to tell you what is true, good, and amazing about him. The Holy Spirit is the best at bragging on Jesus because he has known him forever and is more impressed with him than anyone.
Just as I do with Jayne, I regularly meditate on how amazing Jesus is, and as I do, I often ask the Holy Spirit to show me more, teach me more, and remind me more of how great our incredible Savior is.
Read the Gospels and watch Jesus closely. I would encourage you to read at least one Gospel a year to regularly reacquaint yourself with the love of your life. As you read, slow down and pay attention to his actions and words. Observe how well and how much he loves. Watch for his kindness and gentleness. Don’t miss his gracious love for the broken, the weary, and the sinful.
Then, as the Spirit shows you more about Jesus, talk about what you see and learn. Talk to your roommate about how amazing Jesus is. Tell your friends. Speak with your children about him. The more you do, the more you will love him. And the more you love him, the more you will want to talk about him.
Never forget how he loved you first. First John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.” Regularly go back to that day when his love for you first showed up on the front porch of your heart. Don’t forget what it was like when you were first captured by his affection for you. The Bible teaches a husband to rejoice in the wife of his youth (Prov. 5:18). It also teaches us, in regard to Jesus, to return to our first love (Rev. 2:2–7). In your thoughts, go back regularly to what life was like without Jesus, then remember how he changed your life forever.
If that has not yet happened to you, if your affections have not yet been captured by Jesus Christ, I pray that will change for you. As it does, tell others about his love.
You talk about what you love and you love what you talk about.
This article is adapted from Gospel Fluency: Speaking the Truths of Jesus into the Everyday Stuff of Life by Jeff Vanderstelt.
To become truly gospel fluent is to be able to listen to somebody well enough to hear the real longing or hurts that they're dealing with.
Listen and pay attention—the Lord will give you the right words to bring the gospel to a non-Believer in a way that meets their needs and fulfills their longings.
Pastors can speak the truth of Jesus into the everyday stuff of life by preaching, training, and ministering.
A person is gospel fluent when the gospel becomes their "mother tongue."