The Heart Behind The Song: “More Like Falling In Love” (verse 1)
Give me rules
I will break them
Show me lines
I will cross them
I need more than a truth to believe
I need a truth that lives, moves, and breathes
To sweep me off my feet
I (& Jason Ingram) wrote “More Like Falling In Love” in the classic form of the sermons I heard growing up, that begin with the “bad news” of the Old Testament before moving on to the good news of the gospel. Much of the “sermon” of this song is based on the book of Romans, especially verse 1 which is about what Paul has to say about the limits and true purpose of the law.
Paul says in chapter 3, “…no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin…” and that “sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died.”
He’s telling us that the best that the law and our attempts at rule following could do is reveal that we are rule-breakers, sinners at our core, and therefore dead where we stand. He’s telling us the law alone is insufficient for saving us.
Paul goes on to say, “the law is holy and the commandment is holy, righteous and good” (Rom. 7:12). In other words, as a friend recently put it: there’s nothing wrong with the law, but it reveals what’s wrong with us. “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin…For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Rom. 7:14, 18). And then Paul blesses us by echoing all of our hearts when he says that what he wants to do, he doesn’t do, but instead he keeps doing what he hates. “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Rom. 7:24)
Who can’t relate to this? Paul says the law is like a mirror that forces us to see ourselves as we really are: profoundly broken, slaves to sin and unable to fix ourselves. And the harder I try to fix myself, the deeper I dig my own grave – it still ends in death. The truth is that if you give me rules, I will break them because at my core I’m a rule breaker. I need more than rules to be saved, but at least the rules do help me realize I need saving.
And I need more than a truth to believe. Pilate asks Jesus “what is truth?” and Jesus responds with a deafening silence that refuses to offer a defense as if his truth was just one more of any other truth claims in the world. He stands there, as Truth Himself, perhaps waiting to be recognized – not as a theory that can be debated or an idea for intellectual consumption, but as a person to be embraced by. Like Pilate, I need more than another truth to believe, I need THE living Truth – the Son of God – who lives, moves, and breathes. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
“Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Paul nearly shouts, and we want to shout with him! “What the law was powerless to do…God did by sending his own Son” (Rom. 8:3). This is the good news of the gospel – we are saved! What we couldn’t do on our own with good intentions and rigorous rule keeping, God has done for us through Jesus Christ. “Now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known… This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Rom. 3:21-22).
And what does it mean to believe? This is the main question I’m asking with this song. Does believing in Jesus mean merely believing the facts of who he is? Or is it more than that? As I said in my last blog, we’re told that even the demons believe, and tremble (James 2:19), so God is surely looking for more than just intellectual assent to the facts. So what is he looking for?
I believe that Jesus came to offer us more than facts and better information about who God is – information and facts rarely change our lives, at least not the way that falling in love does. And so we get to the heart of it: that Jesus is more than an idea, he’s a person. And he wants more than our mere obedience to rules, he wants our love, devotion, and to have relationship with us. And here is where the gospel turns into a wedding… where we accept his proposal and become his bride (Eph. 5:25-27), his beloved, his intent sealed with the Holy Spirit like a ring around our finger.
And what will a relationship make of us that rules couldn’t?
Well, for one thing it’s kind of like this: I hope my wife gives me a card on my birthday, but I don’t want her to do it out of obligation because it’s expected of her – that would be joyless drudgery for her and meaningless to me. I’d rather her get a card out of love for me, that her love would cause her to carefully pick out the perfect card, write something personal in it, and make sure I got it the day of my birthday. Either way – obligation or love – involves the sacrifice of driving into town, poring through the card section at Walmart, and taking the time to write something in it. Either motivation will get me a card, but only love will produce the result of my receiving a card that means something both to me and the one who gave it to me.
Love redefines the terms of the relationship, infusing our devotion to the law with passion and purpose – something we do for love rather than obligation. When done out of love, the law which once brought death and condemnation has a chance to make us alive again, because we do it out of delight. But it all starts with love, and a marriage proposal.
It ought to be
More like falling in love
Than something to believe in
More like falling in love
Than pledging my allegiance
Caught up, called out
Come take a look at me now
It’s like I’m falling, oh
It’s like I’m falling in love