The Love of God: Loving Him in Return
Read John 14:18-24; Deuteronomy 6:4-9
“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word”
If God’s love for us is expressed in his giving of himself for our good and ultimate happiness, how do we express our love for God? This is no idle question but goes to the very heart of what it means to be a disciple of Christ and what it means to be genuinely spiritual. Christ calls us to be in a relationship with him, but what impact does this relationship have upon our lives? Today, we equate spirituality with emotionalism. We go to church desiring to be moved emotionally by the music. We want sermons that entertain us, make us feel good, and affirm us but make no demands upon us. Paul warns Timothy of the dangers of the church developing a feel-good, me centered theology that makes us comfortable rather than transformed when he writes, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine: but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires” (2 Timothy 4:3). We want a religion that affirms our lifestyle rather than transform our total being.
In contrast to this, the words of Christ call us to a different perspective of what it means to genuinely love him. The true measure of our love God is seen in our conformity to his word. Six times in John 14 and 15, Christ emphasizes that genuine love for him is revealed in our obedience (14:15,21,23,24; 15:5,14). But this is not a new revolutionary teaching of Jesus. Rather it is an outgrowth of the Old Testament itself. In Deuteronomy 6:4-9, God calls the people of Israel to love him with all their heart, soul and might. The meaning is revealed in the next statement, “These words which I command you today, shall be on your heart.” To love God with all our heart is to integrate his commandments into all aspects of life (verses 7-9). We are to teach and model obedience to the scriptures to our children through our words and actions in every facet of life. When God commands them to bind his commands on their hands and as frontals on their forehead, he is emphasizing that his law is to govern every action and thought. It is to be the governing principle in their home and when the go out into society to conduct their business. Anything less than this, reveals a heart of rebellion rather than love.
The greatest act of love a child can express is to obey his parents and strive to be like them. The same is true in our relationship with God. To truly love God, we must be devoted to his word, striving to become like him. It is to allow his word to shape our lives and govern our world. When we are going through trials, they serve to strip away all the superficial and forces us to examine our life to determine what is truly important. When we get down to the brass tacks, what we find the only thing that matters is walking in obedience to Christ and becoming like him. In these times of adversity, the most important question to ask is not “why,” rather it is “who.” Whom am I becoming? Whom am I following and obeying? Whom am I influencing? Am I following Christ and obeying him or am I following others, the world, or even my own selfish desires? At the end of life, our relationship and obedience to Christ is the only thing that is truly import.