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Love Jesus?

Do we really love Jesus?


       I have let this question resonate in my heart and my head as I try and grasp the fullness of its depth. I know that many are those who would be quick to answer they love Jesus without giving even thought to what it really means to love him. Some enjoy a life not knowing for sure the depth of commitment it takes to really love Jesus and without ever really grasping the fullness of that relationship.

As I read the Bible it becomes all too clear that we are missing something, something that drives our hearts to honor the life that was given on our behalf. I see people who go through the motions of their Christian faith in a religious rigor as if it were work; they are passionless and empty of the euphoria of loving our savior. Its painful labor to try and follow a religion based on performance rather than passion.

It must be important to love Jesus as we are commanded in scripture to Love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Jesus himself asks Peter three times if he loves him. John calls himself “the disciple Jesus loved” and we assume that love was mutual.

       I remember when I had first met my wife and the love I had for her (still do). My days were filled with longing for the moments we could share. I waited outside the place where she worked until she could get a break, or until she clocked-out; just so I could spend a moment with her before she had to go home. I remember writing her notes and letters several times a day just so my feelings would be conveyed. I was anxious for our moments alone and could not be distracted from her. Though we lived several hundred miles apart all I could think about was being with her. Our phone calls were full of enjoyable bliss, often not a word being spoken, just connected to the knowing the other was there. If she had but wanted anything in this world all she needed do was make mention of it and I would do everything in my power to provide it. I know what my love for her looks like and if that’s what my love for Jesus is supposed to be I fail miserably.

       I wonder what love for Jesus really looks like? Is there anyone who displays an authentic love for Jesus in their lives? Does anyone really put him first? The examples we are given from scripture are the best sources on the subject we can find.

I look at Jesus’ own words on the subject. If you love me feed my lambs (John 21:16-18). Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him (John 14:21). If you love me, you will obey what I command (John 14:15). If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him (John 14:23). "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands; you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other (John 15:9-17).

       It appears that the measure Jesus uses for love is in fact our obedience to his commands, remaining in his love, fruitfulness, and feeding his sheep. While that may appear to be a list that is heaped in impossibility it is in fact his desire. The thing that seems to stick out like a sore thumb is that the command to love others is what we are to obey. In other words to love Jesus is to love others.

       So the question is this, do we really love Jesus? Is it evidenced in our lives? Are we sincere in our love and produce fruit in that vain? If you are like me you realize your inadequacy and while you may want to love Jesus more, your human efforts are failed in this measure of truth. What then shall we do?

       I remember the hardest conversation I ever had was with my would-be wife. It was the conversation about my past errors, my failed loves, and my wild oats that had been sown; believe me when I say it was most embarrassing, fearful moment I have ever known. I mean, telling the person you love the honest truth about yourself takes away every false notion and leaves helplessly desperate, the option is to live forever a lie that may one day down the road rear its ugly head and destroy your trusts. No relationship will survive without honesty. That’s what we need with Jesus. Admit our shortcomings; realize our inability to love him without his help. Ask him to forgive our abuse of his love and expect him to meet us where we are. Yes, we run the risk of offending to the point he will leave us, but the alternative is we go through a religious passionless motion of a relationship only to eventually fail. His love is worth throwing caution to the wind and completely humiliating ourselves in order to obtain his trusts.

       Do you really love Jesus or do you just enjoy the benefits of his work on the cross?

John Piper writes in “God is the Gospel” “The critical question for our generation – and – for every generation – is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and with all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, and all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven if Christ were not there?”


Do you love Jesus for what he can provide or for who he really is?