Have you ever known someone who says they love you, yet their actions demonstrate that they do not love you? I know I have been guilty of such hypocrisy. Perhaps you have as well. Just as a living faith requires works, so too a living love requires action, “let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18) If you asked the average religious person, “Do you love God?”, I venture they would say, “Yes.” Of course, there might be some question as to WHICH god they love, but for those who believe in a monotheistic Creator, most would likely affirm their love. But then the question becomes, “What does it mean to love?” Is our love for God merely a verbal expression, a warm feeling, a sentimental tear? How do we express our love for God? How does He want us to express our love for Him?
If God is Your Father, You Must Love the Son
The Old Testament story of Joseph offers many wonderful lessons with one that is particularly relevant to our topic. Joseph, Jacob’s favored son, was betrayed by his ten brothers, sold into slavery, and reported dead to their father. While the brothers directed their hatred toward Joseph, they broke their father’s heart. While Jacob’s favoritism was certainly wrong, the brothers should have accepted and tolerated Joseph out of love for their father. In their scheming, they not only showed a lack of love for Joseph, they also demonstrated how little they loved their father. Any love for their father should have curbed their envy and vengeance toward Joseph.
In John 8:42 Jesus informs the unbelievers, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.” The Jews – Jesus’ brothers by national descent – claimed a relationship with God, calling Him their Father. Yet they rejected God’s Son as their Messiah. Jesus’ simply states if you love God then you must accept Me because God sent Me. To believe in a Divine Being yet reject the Son whom He sent does not demonstrate one’s love for that Divine Being. Furthermore, to seek a relationship with that Being by circumventing Jesus is impossible since, “No man comes to the Father except by Me.” (John 14:6) Do you love God? You must love the Son, Jesus.
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. (1 John 5:1)
If You Love Me, Keep My Commandments
“Oh, how I love Jesus, because He first loved Me.” Does Jesus know you love Him because you tell Him in song or prayer? In John 14:15, Jesus says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” When you say, “I love you Lord,” do you lend your words credibility by keeping the commandments of Jesus? To do otherwise is to love in word, but not in deed and truth. Jesus understands how easy it is to express our love verbally but fail to love in action. Just a few verses later, He explains, “He who does not love Me does not keep my words…” We can say we love Christ, but our failure to follow His commands makes us a liar. It is easy to say, “I believe in God,” or, “I love God.” But how many people say, “I obey God,”? Our love is proven by our obedience.
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:3)
If you reject Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, do you REALLY love God? If you say, “I love God,” but do not keep His commandments, do you REALLY love Him? What personal sacrifices are you willing to make in order to prove your love for Him?
Seeking to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ by talking with people who love the truth.