If you love me…

February 2, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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With Valentine’s Day coming up, the eyes of many people will be focusing on love. They will be planning their “date night” with flair and pizzazz. They will dot every “i” and cross every “t” so that they can “set the mood”. Why are they doing all of this? It’s because they love their spouse. They will rush out and by the most outrageous things, break their necks to get this item or that item just right, and fret or worry about the smallest details for that one night. While I suspect that for most people this is more or less done out of selfishness (“what’s in it for me?”), I wouldn’t be surprised to find a few who truly do it for somewhat non-selfish reasons.

All this flurry of preparation brought to mind something that hit me hard. Watching the people line the shelves with stuffed monkeys and chocolates, watching the people carefully pick out the best flowers or the most appropriate card; it all made me wonder about something. As I got to thinking about it, I realized that it was a personal thing too.

Valentine’s Day is centered around love. It’s not the Biblical agape love (more on this next week) but the eros, physical, love. Regardless of the type of love, the result is that men and women, boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives, will all be going out to buy a bunch of stuff just to make this one day special for the person they love. I don’t really have a good segue for this so you’re just going to have to deal with it straight.

If we are willing to go through all of the hassle of at least a week’s worth of preparation for this one day for our spouse, why do we seem to have so much trouble doing this for Jesus at all? Sure, we love our spouses or girl/boy friends and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, Christ Himself said that the love we have for our kids, parents, and spouses should look like hatred compared to the love the we have for Him. So, how can we devote all of our time, money, and attention on our loved one to make Valentine’s Day just right and neglect the Savior of our souls? How can we lay out huge chunks of money for dinner, flowers, movies, etc., and then put a couple of bucks in the plate as it passes on Sunday? This is not about money though…it’s about our hearts…

With our loved ones, we know (or very quickly learn!) what we can do to show them that we love them. And, most people already know that it’s not just words that show that you love someone but actions too. Jesus is no different in this respect. He has already told us exactly how we can show that we love Him and has made it clear that it’s not just words that will do it. Throughout the gospel of John and the epistles we are told that if we really love God, we will keep His commandments. If we truly love God like we say we do, then we will be walking in obedience to what He’s commanded. It also makes it clear (for those that are a little thick) what it means if someone doesn’t keep His commands.

For those of you who have to see it all in writing to believe it, here ya go:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” <John 13:34-35>

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” <John14:15>

“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” <John 14:21>

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” <John 14:23-24>

“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and {that} your joy may be made full. This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. “<John 15:9-13>

“This I command you, that you love one another.” <John 15:17>

Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled {the} law. For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of {the} law. <Romans 13:8-10>

For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the {statement,} “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” <Galatians 5:14>

If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well. <James 2:8>

We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? <1 John 3:16-17>

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. <1 John 5:2-3>

Now I ask you, lady, not as though {I were} writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it. <2 John 1:5-6>

 Now, there needs to be some clarification about where scripture says that we should “love our neighbor as ourselves”. Many in the body of Christ take this to mean that we are to love ourselves and then love our neighbor that much as well. In other words, they put themselves first and then their neighbor. That’s not the implication here. The truth is, we already love ourselves more than enough. Jesus is asking those who follow Him to love others as much as they already love themselves. He is trying to show them that the focus shouldn’t be on them. It should be on Him first, and then on others!

Sadly, this isn’t happening in the body of Christ today. Many Christians seem so focused on loving themselves that they neglect their Lord and their brethren. Is it really that hard? If Jesus lives in us like the scripture says, and He is love, then why can’t we love others like He did/does? If you want to make it worse, Jesus said that we should love our enemies with His type of love (agape)! He expected us to love everyone with this type of love. Unfortunately we don’t. We get caught up in ourselves and what we’re going to get out of it and how it’s going to benefit us, and in the whirlwind of confusion that results, those that we should be loving all but disappear.

Can I ask you honestly, do you spend as much time preparing yourself and your day for Christ as you do for your “special someone” on Valentine’s Day? Do you set aside special time, away from the kids and the chores and the busyness of life, just for Him? Do you spend so much time with Him that you would recognize Him immediately if He were to suddenly appear? Do you get the best to give to Him? Do you give Him what you know He wants more than anything just because you love Him? Are you willing to “break your neck” to get things right for Him? Do you fret and worry down to the smallest detail because you want things to be just right for Him? I can hear some of you already. “We’re not perfect and we make mistakes just like everyone else”. You’re right. I’m going to just be honest and say that I haven’t been giving Him my best recently. I haven’t done everything for Him first. I’ve spent my money on me and not given what I wanted to because I reasoned it away. I haven’t studied like I want or need to either. And, ya know what? I could make the excuse too. I could say that I was too busy or that I got distracted, or that what I was doing just had to be done right then; just like everyone else. I could say all of that and give myself a little comfort for a short period of time. I could just blame it on the fact that I’m like everyone else.

The only thing is I don’t think that’s a very good excuse. My relationship with God is mine and no one else’s. If I love Him, I will continue in His Word and keep His commandments. I will actively make sure that I make time for Him just like I do for all the others that I love. And it won’t be a hassle, or a burden, or something I do grudgingly – because I love Him.

Do you love Him?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              brought to you by At Ease Tees

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