Many Christians say that they love the Lord and that they love Jesus, but often they are talking from emotion. The love they describe is based on feelings. In this section we are taught how to love Jesus, not through feelings and emotions, but through obedience.
If we want to love Jesus and love God we need to understand how to love Jesus in the manner He prescribes. And the basis of how to love Jesus is found in obedience.
The key to love even on this earth is not about what we want or think or feel towards another, but long-lasting love is based upon how we relate to another person the way THEY want. We love the way they want to be loved and this too is a form of obedience. Let’s look at this some more.
Obedience and Love
Pleasing another person is a large part of what love is all about. They have needs and desires and when we fulfil those needs and desires we show that we care for them…that we love them. And we hope that this will be reciprocated so the bond between us and them is shared.
This is obedience towards your partner, family member or friend. It is by this obedience to their wishes that you show you love them and that they are someone important in your life.
This obedience also should not be considered a form of slavery or a forced obedience. We obey the needs, desires and wishes of the other person because we want to please them. We want to do what is best for them and by so doing show that we love and care for them. So it is important that we first understand what their needs and desires are otherwise how do we know what will please them or not?
It is the same with the Lord. If we are to know how to love Jesus we must understand what it is that He wants so that we can show obedience to His wishes. And again, not because we are being forced to do this, but because we want to please Him by our obedience. And there is a great reward when we do this according to what Jesus wants for the scripture here says that when we love Jesus He and the Father will love us in return and, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (Verse 23)
How to Love Jesus
So it is important that we learn how to love Jesus, not based on what we think but based on what He desires. Just as we cannot love another person unless we are obedient to THEIR needs, wishes and desires according to what THEY want.
Jesus tells us in this section how He wants us to love Him. He says,
21 He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?”
23 Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
24 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.
The message is clear. In verse 21 Jesus says that if we have His commandments and keep them, that is, to be obedient to His word, that is how we show that we love Him. He then emphasizes this again in verse 23 saying, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word.”
In both verses the proof of our love for Christ is that we keep His word and His commandments. This is a very important point for us to learn and understand because the next thing we need to ask ourselves is, “What are the commandments of Jesus?”
The Commandments of Jesus
The commandments of Jesus are not the Old testament law. Many think they are, but this is not the case. However the Old Testament law does give us a great insight into how we ought to behave with one another for much of the law is all about relationships. It talks about how we need to relate to ourselves, God and other people. So there is wisdom in the law we need to be aware of.
But the Old Testament laws are NOT the commandments of Jesus. Jesus came that we could be set free from sin and death and part of that process was to release us from the bondage of the law, so there is something more we need to understand about the commandments of Jesus.
Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34) His primary commandment was that we show love to one another. But this still does not answer the question “How to love Jesus.”
Jesus also gives another clue when He spoke about doing the works of God in John 6:28-29.
28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?”
29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
If we love Jesus we will do what God wants us to do and that is to believe or have faith in Jesus Christ. This is the works of God; to be faithful to Jesus. But to be faithful means we must understand what we are to have faith in. What does it mean to believe in Jesus? What are we required to believe?
Look at the example of Abraham who was given a very specific thing to believe. He was told by God that he would become the father of many nations and peoples and he believed God in spite of the fact that Sarah was barren and well past menopause at about ninety years of age and Abraham was almost one hundred years old. Yet because he believed God and his faith grew strong and unshakable, God proclaimed him to be righteous. You can read this if you desire in Romans 4.
So we too are given a specific thing to believe and have faith in. We are told to believe that Jesus came to set us free from sin so that we would become new creations, born again in Him. We enter into His death and resurrection through being baptised and we receive the Holy Spirit to transform us into the image of Christ.
And these are the commandments of Jesus. To have faith and believe in Him and to learn through Him how to love one another and thereby love Jesus and love God. And we show our love for Jesus through our actions also as we show love for our brethren and fellow man. Look at the section of scripture in Matthew 25:32-46 where Jesus says whatever we do to our fellow man and especially those people of the Lord, we do to Him. When we serve one another we show love towards one another and through this love we show we are obedient to the word of God.
And His other commandments are quite straight forward too. And yet many choose to disregard or ignore them. We are commanded to repent, be baptised in His name, to receive the Holy Spirit, to learn how to walk with Him, to follow Him, to ask, seek and knock on His door to find the truth and of course to love Jesus, God and one another. These are not onerous things, which is why He says in Matthew 11:29-30,
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
And when we do learn how to love Jesus through obedience as He commands and not as some men teach it, we do find rest. We find the salvation of our lives in the mighty name of Jesus Christ.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Stefan Wogrin)
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