Show Him You Love Him

January 29, 2010

Friends,
Do you often take the time to contemplate how much love you are showing to Jesus? I mean, it sure seems to be all the rage to talk about how much He loves us, the blessings He wants to bestow, how “crazy over you” God is… Hmmmm… I find those concepts just a little tweaked… the focus askew…

Especially that last phrase. In fact, my stomach endures a pang of nausea when I hear it or see it. Like when I saw it on a giant sign by a freeway –advertising a church. It said, “God is crazy over you.” Does the word “crazy” not connote recklessness and foolishness? Does the phrase not insinuate that God has a desire for something no matter what? It does. And I believe this is just what sinning people want to hear. –That God is crazily wanting us –like He’s infatuated with us– loving us no matter if we continue to sin, continue to mock His holiness, and continue to neglect His Word and His commands…

It’s really sick. And it is not true. God does not desire fellowship with those who are deliberate rebels against Him and His instructions. Nor is He reckless and foolish. I heard a sermon from the pulpit several months ago entitled “God is a Prodigal”. And it was based on a book by the same title. Again: Sick. This is “emergent” talk. Emergents like to change the meanings of words for shock value –as well as for deceptive purposes to further their own agendas. This preacher was saying that God wanted to save mankind so badly, that He recklessly threw His Son out there to be the sacrifice. And that the reckless abandonment was why God is “a prodigal”. Disgusting…

No, God is absolute wisdom. He was not reckless, but instead had a wonderful plan ordained. –That though He knew the evil side would entice humankind to rebel against Him, some would turn back to Him in repentance. He knew exactly what He was doing, and He did it in totally wise and kind planning. –Giving us deliverance from sin and evil, yet keeping for us the ability to make free choice.

About the blessings from God… Indeed, God does love to lavish gifts on his faithful people. However, He also often wounds us first. He slays us. He slays our idols, our affections, our expectations. Why? Because they get between Him and us. Because they turn our hearts from Him. Because they have the ability to lead us straight to Hell. Why is this not being preached more?

Does God love us? Does Jesus love us? Certainly! He loved the world so much that He came to pay our ransom. But emphasizing one side of someone’s personality (especially God’s) is not good. It causes one to be swayed into false doctrine. God does love. He is love. But He is also just, full of justice, and full of wrath against all injustice. He is angry with the wicked every day (Ps. 7:11) and He “detests men of perverse heart.” (Prov. 11:20) Deut. 25:16 says, “For the LORD your God detest anyone… who deals dishonestly”, while Ps. 5:5 says, “The arrogant cannot stand in Your presence; You hate all who do wrong.” People think that their sin is small –“basically, nothing”– in the eyes of the Lord; but He says that He hates all who do wrong. Any wrong. And He hates the ones who do it. Notice that the context is particularly about the arrogant. –Because it is the arrogant who think they do no wrong. –Or that the wrong they do will be winked at by God… because THEY are special to God. (Such definite arrogance.) They believe God will punish wickedness, but when they partake of wickedness, they somehow rationalize that “God understands…” them… their weakness…

Indeed, as Ps. 36:2 says, “In his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.” Why? Verse one gives the reason: “There is no fear of God before his eyes.” They mock His Word, for though they know verses such as Prov. 16:5, they think it doesn’t apply to them. (That verse says, “The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.”) And they are way too proud to listen to those who try to warn them by reminding them of such verses. Sadly, this pride problem applies mainly to those who preach the Word themselves!

Well, back to my initial question: Do you often take the time to contemplate how much love you are showing to Jesus? Because that’s what our lives should be all about. –Showing HIM (and His Father) love… worship… reverence… obedience… honor… following Him and His Word with complete devotion… Because Jesus says that by doing these things, we show we love Him. –Truly love Him… with our whole hearts.. more than anything or anyone else… As He says in John 14:23, “If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching.”

So why the lopsided talk? Why keep telling people “Jesus loves you” when THEY (even so-called Christians), are not loving HIM? As Titus 1:16 says, “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him.” Our actions do prove our love for Him. Obedience to His commands does prove that we love Him. Disobedience proves that we don’t. And as Eph. 5:6 tells us, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.”

So why this omission in most preaching? Is it because the preachers don’t care that they are literally directing people to Hell? Is their love for affirmation or income stronger than their love for souls? Is it their love for their own sin that keeps them from wanting to preach about what really constitutes love for God and His Son?

Peter denied Jesus –3 times in a row (Luke 22:57-60) –even after Jesus had warned him about doing so, and even after Peter had determined that he wouldn’t. But Peter wept bitterly over this (v.62), and when we fail, so must we. However, different from Peter at the time, we have the power of the Holy Spirit in us. So our failures (sins) are by our own deliberate choice. And if we do not have this power, then it is our responsibility to ask, seek, and knock –as Jesus tells us to do in Luke 11:9– the context being about receiving the Holy Spirit (v. 13) who, as we walk in Him, keeps us from sin. (Gal. 5:16) We do this by meditating on Him and His words, therein waiting “until we have been clothed with power from on high.” (See Luke 24:49) If we do not choose to go to the Source, we still have no excuse for our sin. In bypassing the Source for power over sin, we’ve rebelled. –Rebelled against the Holy Spirit, rebelled against Jesus, against His words, God’s Word, Truth, and God the Father Himself.

What does Jesus ask the repentant Peter in John 21:15? He asks him, “Simon, son of John, do you truly love Me more than these?” Notice the words, “more than these”. Many say they love Jesus. I meet so many people on the streets (and in the church) who say they love Him. But do their actions prove it? And how about the men in the pulpits or those in ministry? They certainly all say they love Jesus. But do they? Do they love Him “more than these”? –These things of the world? Their possessions, their family, their sin…? Do they?

Because 1 John 2:15 tells us, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”  And James 4:4 says, “…Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”  Love for God and His Son is an absolute priority for inheriting eternal life.  And it must be a true and fervent love (Rev. 2:4) with repentance and deeds to match.  (3:2,3,15,16)

In verses 16 & 17 we see Jesus ask Peter three times if he truly loves Him. Peter says he does. So what is Jesus’ response each time? It concerns this (–something we all need to wake up and obey also): “Feed and take care of His lambs and sheep.”

THAT is proof that we love Jesus. (And this applies to every born again believer, for we all are called to care for one another and to proclaim God’s Word to everyone we can.)

Do we sloppily feed them? No. We carefully attend to them, watching that they are fed only The Truth –Jesus, the Word of God (Rev. 19:13) –made human.  (John 1:1,14)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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