‘If you love me, keep my commands’ (John 14v15), is what the Lord said to His disciples. If we are to live properly and experience the fullness of God in our lives then love for God and our LORD Jesus will be found to be the priority with us. The Greek word in the New Testament which reveals the highest form of love is agape. This word indicates that the lover is so captivated by the one loved that all their being is transformed as a result. The object of the love is the one the lover longs to adore and serve. Accordingly, agape love is a self-sacrificing love; it is a love that will do everything to please the one to whom the lover is devoted. And so remember our Lord said ‘If you love me, keep my commands’.
Love for the LORD shown in the life: How do you know who or what somebody loves? You see it in their general conduct. The content of their conversation and the make-up of their lives gives indication of what their affections are set upon. If my affections are set upon a certain fashion style then my conversation and lifestyle will reflect this. So if you are a Christian and you therefore, profess that you are a lover of Christ, would people know that this is a reality from your conversation and your lifestyle?
One key aspect of our lives which indicates upon whom or what we set our affections is that of how we spend our money. Some of us have lots of money, some of us have little money. Some of us are on a tight budget some of us are not so financially constrained. But whatever your position, consider this question before the Lord, does your use of your finances reflect that you love the Lord? Do you give to His cause, whether that be in the church or into missionary causes around the world? Do you give to His people so that they are provided for and blessed as they serve Him?
Love for the LORD shown in deed and truth: What we are considering here is the great principle that it is not just good enough to love in words only. As the apostle John says to those he loves Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:18). Love moves into and through the realities of our lives and calls us to be active in serving and blessing others. However, in this Scripture we must note that love is to be in truth. Love is not a weak, wimpish thing that does nice things to everyone because that is what nice people do and Christians are supposed to be nice people so they must do nice things. No! Christians are called to be godly people and that means we love in truth. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matt. 22:37) is the primary call upon our lives. When I am truly loving I am wanting to honour God with all my life. My being is for Him. I will never say anything or do anything that offends Him in all of His beautiful being, I love Him too much to do that.
It is not loving then to communicate that everybody gets to choose their own way in life and it does not matter. That is fundamentally a lie and an offence to God’s character because there is only one God and He is only known through Jesus Christ the LORD. Moreover, it is an offence against the second commandment which is to “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matt 22v39). Where is the love in allowing someone to follow a false creed that will lead to destruction. Loving in truth means that I live always for the glory of God and the benefit of others.
Keeping our love for the LORD aflame: But you say: “my heart seems cold and indifferent and my love for the Lord seems oh so shallow.” What shall be done in such a case? You must return to the cross of our LORD Jesus and take time to immerse your soul in the most profound expression of love ever. Here is the giving for the benefit of others at great personal cost, that goes beyond all others. If our lives are not being ongoingly transformed then such lives give an indication that the cross of our Lord Jesus has become an overly familiar or an ignored matter.
Showing love for the LORD in His appointed ministry for you: Peter had lost his way and the Lord was lovingly determined to restore him to His service. This interaction is recorded in John 21:15-19. The Lord challenged Peter as regards to his love for Himself and how that should be reflected in his life. In the first two questions Peter was confronted about whether he self-sacrificially loved Jesus and he responds by saying that he affectionately loves Jesus. The Lord’s word is agape, Peter’s word is phileo. The Lord then comes and says in the third statement (to paraphrase very loosely) that “even if you only love me affectionately you should still be active in doing good to my people.” The three statements of the Lord show how Peter is not just to love in word, but to love by looking after and providing for the mature and the less mature in the Lord’s fold. Love meant action.
This opens up big issues as regards to the call of all of us as disciples to follow Him. To be a disciple of Jesus is to be a lover of Jesus. And if we are lovers of Jesus we will be active in serving Jesus. It is in this order though. Action without love is of no value, as Paul showed the Corinthian Christians in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. Love without action is a contradiction because lovers show their love through their actions. Peter had a specific sphere in which to show His love, but so do each of us. So if you are a lover of Jesus you should be showing your love in the service he has determined for you.
So love flows from out of knowledge of our Saviour who gave His life for us. True love flows into a self-giving life. No self-giving reveals there being no love for Christ. No love for Christ reflects an unconverted lost life. Active love means Christ centred love. Where are we in respect of these things?
(Taken, and adapted, from the Feltham Evangelical Church newsletter of October 2015)