Expressing Love

It took eight years for me to hear her.  From the very first Valentine’s Day after we met, every year I would buy my wife a white teddy bear.  The final teddy bear I bought her was about 40 inches tall.  She was gracious and appreciated the thought and the attempt at being romantic.  But when she came home from work stressed out and tired of sitting behind a desk, the affection that meant the most to her was a back and foot massage.  It took me eight years to hear her saying to me, “I love you means rubbing my sore feet and aching back.”

We often think that our expressions of love to God are sufficient and satisfying to God. Now, it is true that God does consider the intent of the heart.  However, God also tells us clearly how we are to express our love to him.  The expression of love toward God can be summarized under three headings.  1)  If you love God, you will love His Word.  2) If you love God, you will love who God loves.  3) If you love God, you will obey God.

Loving God’s Word

Fundamental to loving God is loving how God has revealed Himself and His will.  Apart from God’s revelation of Himself, we cannot know God.  (See Romans chapter 1 for the reason.)  I can only imagine what it was like during WW2 for the soldiers as they were fighting and thinking about home.  How precious were the letters from home, especially the letters from their wives, fiancés and girlfriends!  Those letters were the connection between them until they could be in each other’s physical presence.  In the longest chapter in the Bible, David wrote about God’s Word.  Psalm 119:103, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!  Then in Psalm 139:17 David reflected upon God’s thoughts again.  “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”

Loving God’s People

If I were to ignore and disregard the things in my wife’s life that were important to her, what conclusion would she draw?  That I didn’t care about her!  But, precisely because I love her, I will treat with respect and reverence those things she holds to be important.  To an infinitely greater degree, this is true of God as well.  Ephesians 5:25 says, “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”  If we don’t honor and respect and prayer for and love the gathered body of believers –whom Jesus died for! — how much do we really love Jesus?

Loving God’s Commands

Throughout scripture there is a theme that connects love and obedience.  Love for those in authority over you necessarily requires obedience, especially God (Deut 11:1, 13; Josh 22:5; Psa 119:47-48; John 14:15; 1John 5:2-3; 2John 1:6.) Jesus even directly stated in John 14:21, “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me.”  1 John 5:3 says “1Jn 5:3  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”

As a dog lover, I was reminded of how a dog loves its master.  Even though it so desperately wants the biscuit sitting on his nose, because his master’s pleasure is more important than its own, it will wait until the master gives the command.

 

So here is how you can evaluate how much you love God.  1) How much do you love His word?  Do you read it daily, not out of mere obligation but out of a desire to be with God? 2) How much do you love what God loves?  Do you enjoy being in worship services, and fellowshipping with God’s people?  Is Sabbath keeping a high priority?  3) How much do you strive to please God in faith and obedience?  Is holiness on your radar?  Does sin against God sadden your soul?

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