Do you love Jesus? How do you know that you love Him? These were questions that came to my mind recently during my time with God. I began to think about it. Most of the time when we are asked these questions the first answer is usually, "yes of course I love Him," and if asked how we know, we say, "oh I just know it". But the Lord reminded me that morning of some evidences or pointers to guide and remind me of how to measure my true love for Him.
In John 14:15 Jesus says that if we love Him, we will obey His command. He says further in verse 23 that if anyone loves Him, he would obey His commands and God the Father and Jesus will come and make their home with him. So one way to know that you love Jesus is simply obeying His commands. Not when you have goose bumps when you are singing or praying in tongues all day or saying you love Jesus all the time, but by obeying His command. I found out also what His commands are. Not the 10 commandments per se or all the laws in the books of Deuteronomy, Numbers and Leviticus. His command is:
1. love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind and
2. love your neighbor as yourself.
The next question is: how do you get to love the Lord?
You get to love Him by first accepting His love for you. I had a problem with this for a long time. I was so full of the consciousness of my sinfulness to accept the fact God could love me. A lot of people are like that. We have to embrace and be conscious of our righteousness or right standing with God. He loves us despite our past, present and future sins. Nothing can separate us from the love of God, Romans 8:35-39, unless we separate ourselves.
You grow in love with Him by getting to know Him through His word and daily communion with Him. We come to Him daily with the attitude of a daughter spending time with her Daddy who loves her. As we continue to grow in love with Him, that love now begins to overflow to our neighbors.
We know that we have the love of Christ when we cease to be afraid. 1 John 4:18says that there is no fear in love and that perfect love drives out fear, 2 Timothy 1:7 says that the Lord has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.
We also know that we love the Lord when we want to always do His will.
We want to always serve Him. We are not serving Him out of obligation or out of the fact that the Pastor is making us do it. We just want to do things for Him. This can be compared to when we fell in love with our spouses, right? We just want to be with them, spend time with them and just love on them. Some of us had to go learn to make their favorite meals just so that we could please them, not necessarily because they demanded it, but because we loved them.
We know we love Him when we always want to talk about Him, testifying about what He has done for us.
How about that unlovable neighbor?
When the love of God is flowing in us, then it would be easier to love our neighbors. I believe that is one of the reasons why the Lord did not say we should love our neighbors first, apart from the fact that He wants always to be our first love. But you can love your neighbors, even the difficult and unlovable ones if you have the love of Christ. I always say that even a mad or crazy person will respond to love. If there is a crazy person and every one knows them as crazy and runs away from this person, you will notice that if you are not afraid and you daily reach out to them in love, they will begin to respond positively to you. If they hurt others, they will not hurt you. In fact that may begin to protect you. That is the power of love.
To get a better understanding of how to love our neighbors, let us read
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
To be continued.