How much do you love Jesus?
By Patricia Newman
"I love You, O Lord, my strength." Psalm 18:1
When a Pharisee asked Jesus what the greatest commandment in the law was, Jesus replied,
"'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.' On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." Matthew 22:37-40
Clearly, the eminent mark of a Christian is love of God, and he who loves God must, necessarily, love Jesus. You cannot be a Christian and not passionately love Jesus.
"Jesus said to them, 'If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.'" John 8:42
The love spoken of in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (the "Shema") and in Matthew 22:37-40 is a whole-hearted love that leaves no room for rival loves. Since God is the Almighty, Sovereign Creator of the universe, perfectly just and full of mercy, He rightly commands that our love of Him is to be total and to take priority over everything else.
The question then is: how much do you love Jesus?
One of the main ways we know that we love God is through our obedience to His commands. Jesus said,
"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." John 14:15
Also, in 1 John 5:3, the Bible says,
"For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome."
Clearly then, obedience to God is a vital evidence of the love of Jesus. Can any be a follower of Jesus who does not follow (obey) His word? But, this obedience must come out of a love of Jesus. This obedience comes from the heart. We truly love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Out of this love for Jesus comes obedience to His word and passion to serve Him. It is right, of course, to love our family members, our children, brothers, sisters and parents. But the love of our supreme Lord must rank above all. Jesus tells us that,
"He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me." Matthew 10:37
Jesus is teaching us here that we must love and treasure Him above all else. It is important that we take a regular inventory of our love of Jesus. Do you love Him more than your family? Do you love Him more than your ministry? Do you love Him more than the gifts that He gives you. Do you serve Him purely out of love for Him, and not for the honour that ministry confers. In 1 Corinthians 16:22, the Apostle Paul says,
"If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed."
We know that we love Him when we love to hear Him. His word is a delight to our soul. We cherish His word and study His word continually, seeking to know Him more. The Apostle Paul said,
"... I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ." Philippians 3:8
Oh that we would, like Paul, treasure Christ above all!
We know we love Him when prayer is a delight and we pray often. We love to commune with the One that we love. Our prayer is filled with adoration. We do not merely present God with our list of requests. How would you like it if a relation or friend who claims to love you only communicates to you when they have a request to make of you?
We know we love Him when His praise is continually on our lips, and our hearts are filled with gratitude to God for what Christ has done for us. We have a continuing vision of His loveliness, grace, power and mercy.
We know we love Him when we desire to do all for His glory. We serve Him with passion - not for gain, but to see His name exalted and glorified.
Those who love Jesus love to worship and fellowship with the people of God. They make this a priority in their lives. They love to be in His presence, in the word, in prayer, in the Spirit. To be in His presence is their element. Jesus questioned the Apostle Peter three times regarding His love of Jesus. Would you, faced with the same question from Him, be able to say, sincerely and confidently, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You"?
Is there room in your heart for more love of Jesus? Pray fervently that the Lord will fill you with His Spirit and that He may give you an all-consuming love for Jesus. Study His word diligently, study it every day. Fellowship regularly with those who love and fear the Lord. Take an inventory of how you spend your time each day. May His love govern all that you do, and may you continually live for the glory of His name.