I Want To Know What Love Is

Jesus smooshes all the law and the prophets up into two commandments, The Great Commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” and smoothly adds a second critical commandment which doesn’t directly focus on God but on people, saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” I synthesize those into:

“Love God first and best, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Many self described Christians will claim to be living that fully enough, speaking words out, serving often, singing songs to God, etc. Interestingly, these were not things Jesus mentioned (although we would all agree they are good parts that go into this). What did Jesus say? How did Jesus describe what He recognizes and affirms as love?

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” – Jesus

I appreciate how forthrightly Jesus speaks, when it comes right down to it. “Obey Me… THAT’S how we’ll BOTH know that you love me, like you say you do.” When we do anything other than obedience (even sacrifice), we aren’t demonstrating to Jesus that we love Him. But how easy it can be for us to fool ourselves into thinking that we are really going the distance and being a loving partner with Him. This makes me nervous… and sad… for Jesus… and for you.

Imagine the heartbreak within Someone called, “The Lover of our souls,” continually reaching out to us, coming alongside us any time we call, fixing up our broken lives, building us up, giving us favor, providing everything we need – both materially and physically, and receives in return from us… what? What does He get from us? Let’s wrestle with this, honestly, and scripturally for a minute, as an exercise like in a marriage class.

• We may “go to church” (but American’s aren’t very steady to show up even once a week – so, forget marriage, we aren’t even “going steady.”)

• And what “church” do we choose for ourselves (because we like it, not necessarily because Jesus actually called us to gather and integrate as family there)? The country club experience? The easy in, easy out, no one knows me, I don’t have to get real with anyone, or deal with their mess? The all show, no “go” (Matt. 28:19-20), short service, high on multimedia and “professional” presentation, big following, Instagramable, on-campus-café, activities for kids of all ages at all times – anything so they don’t bother the adults, zero accountability, cheap grace, half-gospel church?

• Since we’re ‘going there,’ we can discuss the elements of the service, too. When we ‘worship,’ is God the focus, showering Him with praise and adoration, vulnerable and thankful, inviting Him in His fulness to change us? Or is it, more often than not, the songs about what we get out of this ‘relationship’ with Christ? Are the songs about I/me/my/us/our or You/Yours? Are our prayers desperate to discover and adopt His will as our lifestyle or are they selfish, “I’m not here to change… YOU change… ‘Lord’” prayers?

We could seek The Lord in prayer and ask Him to lead us to a gathering of believers (WHO are actually the “Church”) so we can bear one another’s burdens, weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice, fulfill the law of Christ? But do we, when it may limit us from making the easy choice to consume church rather than become the Church?

Now, that was a lot to process. And really, Jesus has always communicated, “hey, show Me you love Me by trusting Me to lead you. Do what I instruct. Care enough to ask, then follow through. Simple.”

If we think we trust Jesus enough for Heaven, but not enough to obey Him on earth, we’re in trouble.

Has Jesus ever had to question your love? Have you recognized Him questioning your love… to your face? He did with Peter. #awkward

What if that confrontation took place today, as you quieted your mind and heart and talked to Him about your relationship? Would you be willing to hear that you have some areas to focus attention on? Or would your soul squirm and reject the truth He presents?

I encourage you to carve out some time right away to sit at the Master’s feet, asking Him what He wants to say to you, while you patiently listen and really hear Him. After all… He loves you with everything He is. Will you show Him love today? (Your level of obedience will tell.)