DO YOU LOVE GOD?
Probably the most PROFOUND question we could ask a PROFESSING Christian is this: ‘Do you love God?’
And of course that question REGISTERS differently in each of our minds.
Husband and wife friends of ours were travelling to work together, listening to the radio. And the weather forecast was being shared.
The husband heard ‘mist or fog will be in certain places’
She heard: ‘Mister Fog will be in certain places.’ And for her it was a case of: ’What a childish way to share the weather with adults – does he think we are all children?’
The sentence had REGISTERED differently with her than him
So ‘Do you love God?’ is the question. How is that registering with you?
Perhaps when you think of loving God, you immediately think of some kind of emotional feeling towards God? (it includes emotion – but it is more accurate to say it entails a spiritual sensing)
As you hear the question, and you think of answering it, perhaps your answer is: “I hope so”. or “I don’t know”.
Again we ask: How does the question REGISTER with you?
How is it meant to register?
Well, loving God as God desires it – involves the ‘all’ factor, (not the X factor), but the ‘ALL’ factor.
Deuteronomy 6:4-6 (KJV)
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:
5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Matthew 22:37 (KJV)
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Tall order don’t you think?
Let us consult God who can answer our question better than any of us.
What question, was that again? – Do you or I love God?
God can answer that better than I, because of course, He knows all things.
God saw fit in the person of The Lord Jesus Christ to ASK A MAN- THAT QUESTION.
So I am following in the footsteps of Jesus in asking it.
Jesus Restores Peter. JOHN 21:
15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than THESE?”
THESE? – What ‘these’ was He referring to? We don’t know who or what ’THESE’ were.
Was it the other disciples? The fish they had just caught? What other possibilities?
The great thing about this is that the scripture is faithfully recording His exact words. But not explaining what He was referring to. And that gives us a truth BY DEDUCTION – Jesus saw the need to COMPARE.
The love He was looking for was a ‘MORE THAN’ love – ‘MORE THAN’ – sounds like we are getting close to the ‘ALL’ FACTOR doesn’t it?
Apart from DEFINING THIS LOVE correctly, We do learn that it is a love THAT MUST BE – ‘MORE THAN’ a love for other persons or things.
If we are loving something MORE THAN we are loving God – there is work to be done in our lives. And that work will continue throughout our Christian pilgrimage on this planet. He may need to ask us MORE THAN THREE TIMES – Do you love me?
Now Peter doesn’t address ‘THESE’ – he doesn’t refer to the ‘THESE’ Jesus refers to. He simply says from his heart – “ You know that I love you”.
v15 He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah,
do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. 18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”
To help us understand what it is TO LOVE God, we have INSIGHT here that helps us realise it is PUTTING HIM FIRST in our lives. Putting Him first before other things (These).
Putting God first. Giving God our undivided attention.
You see God’s DEFINITION OF LOVE and our definition is probably entirely different.
So let’s ESTABLISH a simple truth to help us, and leave it like that.
The key to understanding THE LOVE THAT GOD IS LOOKING FOR.
Is in the first commandment.
Even before we quote the first commandment we find the key!!
What’s that key? Answer: the key is the fact that IT’S THE FIRST COMMANDMENT. Therefore it is God’s priority for mankind.
The fact that it is the FIRST commandment tells us what? That it is top of God’s agenda, for our lives.
What’s top of your agenda or mine?
So the key word is FIRST.
God simply wants to be first in your life and mine.
Establishing that God is First, now let’s look at the love relationship we are meant to have with Him and it’s expression.
I love my wife. She’s in the room next door.
So she is in the same house as I.
I go into that room. So although we are in the house together – we can get closer.
I have to make a move to get closer.
I sit opposite to her. We talk. I get up – halfway across the floor, – closer again.
I reach out and affectionately brush her face. I hold her face – I kiss her.
She rises up in loves embrace. We hug.
So it is – with The Lord, we put Him first and love Him more than other things. We then proceed to draw near to Him in an expression of our love that seeks intimacy with Him. We are already walking with Him and love Him, but now we are drawing closer to more intimately engage with His presence.
GW translation – James 4/8 Come close to God, and he will come close to you. Clean up your lives, you sinners, and clear your minds, you doubters…
So let’s repeat the major directional points so far in our quest to understand what loving God entails. Loving God entails: THE ‘ALL FACTOR’, AND THE ‘MORE THAN’ comparison, which means putting Him FIRST.
LOVE IN THE END TIMES
On the subject of love the scripture informs us about Love in the end times.
Matt 24/12: LOVE GROWING COLD
Let’s compare Bible translations regarding this:
DARBY…and because lawlessness shall prevail, the love of the most shall grow cold;
DLNT… And the love of the majority will grow cold because of lawlessness being multiplied
ERV …There will be so much more evil in the world that the love of most believers will grow cold
(Then comes the time when many will lose their faith, and will betray and hate each other. Yes, and many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many people. Because of the spread of wickedness the love of most men will grow cold, though the man who holds out to the end will be saved. This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed to men all over the world as a witness to all the nations, and the end will come).
This is SCAREY STUFF. Who can even begin to talk about it?
Concerning the love we are to have for Jesus – and the love God’s all seeing eyes are looking for, we read:
IF ANY MAN LOVE GOD.
I Corinithians 8/3- Again different translations:
KJ21… But if any man love God, the same is known by Him.
AMP version: …But if anyone loves God [with awe-filled reverence, obedience and gratitude], he is known by Him [as His very own and is greatly loved].
Whatever a man may know, he still has a lot to learn, but if he loves God, he is opening his whole life to the Spirit of God.
THAT’S TIME SPENT WITH THE ONE YOU LOVE.
God doesn’t expect what we can’t produce. But seeing what we need to produce in the fruit bearing of loving God – He tells us that apart from Him, already in our lives we can do nothing. (John 15/5)
Certainly we can’t love Him in our own strength, except through the impartation and infiltration of the love of the Holy Spirit, pouring His love into our hearts. (Romans 5/5)
Paul also tells us how he was able to love God more – he says: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’. (Philippians 4/13)
So what is almost a paradox is this – that God The Lord – looking for our love – knows our inadequacies and inability to love – and asks first that we are willing to love, and He will then enable us to love Him.
Here is a scripture in a different context but one that includes the principle of giving – addressed:
2 Corinthians 8:12 (NKJV)
12 For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.
Willing first – He will help us love Him as He manifests first – His love to us.
Our love for Him is a RESPONSIVE love, because He first loved us.
I John 4/10
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
When we experience the overwhelming love of Christ, it produces the response that God is looking for. Dedication, commitment, devotion, all words that express love.
“If you [really] love Me, you will keep and obey My commandments.
There is a double truth in John 14/15 – We can express it this way – By keeping His commandments we will be showing we love Him. But by loving Him we will automatically keep His commandments.
So in conclusion: Loving God is the ‘ALL FACTOR’, THE ‘MORE THAN’, AND THE ‘FIRST’ PRIORITY, in response to the fact that HE FIRST LOVED US.
God Bless you as you seek greater intimacy through praise, worship, prayer and meditation on the word of God, producing greater devotion and love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Our prayer is: “Lord keep us from the evil coming upon the earth and enable us to be faithful through love – to the end…”