For a while, I thought I had made a royal goof. I’d gone down the wrong path, big time. I would have to go back and amend my last post or maybe even delete it completely.
But then I calmed down and realized that post does belong in this series. I believe in the Spirit’s leading, that He takes us to what He knows we need at the time. Have you noticed that Scriptures speak differently to you at different stages in your pilgrimage?
So the post stays. Because a passion for God, a devotion to Christ, is still the first necessary desire. Because that’s where I was at the beginning of this week, wanting to know how to love God better.
And today, I go to the next step:
Scriptures say loving Christ, loving God, is about what we do.
Okay, I admit, at one time I would have read that statement and immediately closed this website. Never read a word by this writer again. Because I react to a legalistic religion by slamming shut my ears and heart.
But that’s not where this post is headed. Breathe. Read on, please.
I’m looking for answers this week, wanting to know how to keep a love for Christ burning brightly. And what I read today says: Love. Loving others is how we love Christ.
Jesus said it bluntly:
If you love me, you will obey what I command… Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. (John 14: 15, 21)
That is how we love Christ. By obeying what He commands us to do. And what is His command?
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
He repeats again, just a few verses later, This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:12,17)
The greatest commandment, Jesus says, is to love the Lord God with everything you have. (Maybe what I was seeking on Monday.) And the second commandment goes hand in hand with, is inseparable from, the first — you must love your neighbor as yourself. All other admonitions and teachings are details on how to obey those two commandments.
This is not a legalistic teaching, a laying down of rules, a warning that we had better do this or else we’re in danger of hellfire. This is Jesus telling us how to live in Him, how to love Him. We love Him by loving each other.
That love for God and neighbor is not just a verbal declaration, a passion, an emotional adoration. The emphasis is on action. It’s what we do. We’ve all heard the commentary on I Corinthians 13, that love is what we do, rather than what we feel.
But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. (1 John 2:5)
Here it is again: obeying makes our love complete. To love Him, to live in Him, we must walk as Jesus did.
Love is such a difficult word to define in our English language. My dictionary has 18 definitions. We love everything from Cheerios to spouses. We fling the word about in a hundred different ways. We all understand that my loving Maine is something completely different than my loving God.
But just as being “in love” means we’re totally immersed in our feeling for someone else, loving God means living in God, our lives immersed in Him, our mortal being swallowed up by His immortal. Or, maybe it’s the other way around: Living in God is loving God. Am I going in circles? Is that because it is all the same? Isn’t our loving really our living?
Jesus says, Love each other in the same way I have loved you. (NLT) That’s his command. If we are loving Him/living in Him, we must walk as He did.
Scriptures say again and again, Love each other, love each other, love each other the way Christ loved you.
How does Jesus love? We need some concrete details here; we need to know, because He wants us to live that way, to walk that way, to love that way.
To be continued …..
Assignment: Hear Jesus saying directly to you: “Love others in the same way I love you.” How does He love you?