“I love Jesus!” is a statement often uttered, but is it true?
To answer that question, I reckon the first thing to do is to define love. What is love?
The Bible gives us the definition of love in its most famous verse, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave…” Love is a giving of yourself to someone or something. Another example of love in the Bible is the story of Jacob and Rachel. Jacob loved Rachel and when Jacob asked for Rachel’s hand in marriage, Laban, Rachel’s father, told Jacob he would have to work for him for seven years to have her.
Rachel had an older sister, Leah. At the end of the seven years, Laban, not wanting the younger sister married before the elder, tricks Jacob into marrying Leah and forces Jacob into working another seven years for Rachel. Jacob gave fourteen years of his life over to servitude to marry Rachel. When you love someone, you will give yourself for them.
Another thing about love is that love is a choice. This fact can be proven by the commandments that God gives for us to love people. We are to love God, our enemies, our wives, our neighbor, each other; all of these are direct commandments by God. God does not give a single commandment that we do not have a choice. We have the free will to obey or not. Therefore, love is a choice. We can love God or not; we can love our enemy or not. God does tell us to do so, but whether we chose God’s command or not is up to each of us individually.
Therefore, love is a voluntary giving of yourself to someone or something else.
How do we show our love to God? How do we give ourselves over to Him? Jesus gives us a straightforward answer in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
By definition, loving God is giving ourselves to Him. Jesus takes it a step further by saying loving Him is equivalent to keeping His commandments.
How can this type of love be manifested? How can we love God in such a way?
Romans 12:1-2 has the answer.
Romans 12:1; “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
Notice the wording here indicating giving of yourselves to God.
Present means “to make a gift; to give or bestow formally.” Then there is the word “sacrifice” – an act of offering to a deity something precious. To love is to give, and here we have the giving of ourselves to God.
Romans 12:2; “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
To give ourselves to God, we must have a transformation of the mind. Giving ourselves to God is far more than a good feeling after singing a few hymns; this is a willing overhaul of our lives to His will – we give ourselves to Him.
How do we move from being conformed by the world to knowing and doing the good, acceptable, perfect will of God in our lives?
Saturate yourself in the Word of God. 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Many Christians look at what people consider the worst of sins and conclude that they are right without God if they are not committing such acts.
Consider these things:
We are commanded not to forsake the assembly. In other words, go to church (Hebrews 9:25). When it is raining – we stay home because the weather is terrible. When it is warm and sunny – we miss church to enjoy the out of doors.
Pray without ceasing is another thing God tells us to do, but how often do we wait to pray until all other options are exhausted (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Some Christians have an unwritten list of people, that although they would never do them harm, neither will they give them the time of day. How does that stack up to the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:44? “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you:”
It would take several thousand pages to list the commandments of God Christians break daily without giving a second thought. With that said, how much can we say we love Him when Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”?
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With houses of worship currently closed or restricted across much of the nation, the editors of the Baltimore Post-Examiner are inviting an array of spiritual teachers to share insights from the ages along with words of comfort and encouragement. These timely messages are not exclusive to any particular faith walk and will be included in our ongoing Spirituality series.
Preacher Tim Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. His weekly column “Preacher’s Point” may be found at: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com