Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

How Does One Love God?

Deuteronomy 6:5 NKJV — “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
Mark 12:30 NKJV — ‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.
Different kinds of Love
We know that there is a love for “things,” as well as a love for the opposite sex.  But there is also a love that is sacrificial and devotional as well as the personal love of a friend.  When we say that we love God, just what are we saying?  What kind of love are we professing to have?
The Definition of Self-sacrificing Love
There are four people in the Bible that come to my mind that seem to be true lovers of God.  One was Abraham who was called the friend of God.  One was David who was a man after God’s own heart.  One was John the Apostle who knew he was the disciple that Jesus loved.  Then there is the fourth one, Peter.  He professed devotional love but finally had to admit that he fell short of that. But he definitely was the Lord’s friend.   In John 21:17, we read, “He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me (are you my friend)?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘“Do you love Me?”’ And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You (I am your friend).”  Twice the Lord had asked if Peter loved Him enough to die for Him as he had said he would earlier.  Peter had to confess that He had failed that test but that he really was His friend.  But ultimately Peter proved that He would die for the Lord as the Lord predicted in this passage.
My Jesus I Love Thee
Sometimes we sing a song that goes like this:
My Jesus I love Thee, I know Thou art mine
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign
My gracious Redeemer, my Saviour art Thou
If ever I loved Thee my Jesus ’tis now
I wonder if we know what we are saying when we sing that.  Have we resigned all the follies of sin?  Probably not! The epistles wouldn’t have had to be written if we were able to turn completely away from sin.  However, we should have a conscience about sin.  
What would be the one thing that the Lord would be looking for that would convince Him that we mean it when we say that we love Him?  I am going to go out on a limb here and probably cut it off on the wrong side, but I think He is looking for loyalty.  Loyalty would be seen in obedience.  It would be seen in communion, that is, in spending time with him.  The ten commandments have a very controversial command that the Jews felt the Lord violated.  That command was to set one day a week apart for rest.  I think the Lord wanted one day of unhindered communion.  He would commune with His father on mountains at night.  He wants us to be comfortable in His presence and He wants our unhindered communion.  But all the commands of the Lord were important. They were summed up in the command to love God and to love your neighbor.   In the New Testament the Lord says in Luke 6:46, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” I am afraid that most of us fall short when it comes to loving our neighbor which means that we aren’t really being loyal to the Lord.
When we do without question what the Lord asks us to do, without second-guessing Him and without complaining I think the Lord knows that we are demonstrating our love for Him.  When we defend Him when others are criticizing Him, I think that shows our devotion.  When we spend time alone with Him, I am sure that is precious to Him.  
So Do we Really Love the Lord?
We know that we cannot love Him if we haven’t come as lost guilty sinners to the cross and found out that He died there to put away our sins. . .to save us eternally.  But even as a saved sinner I sometimes wonder if I really know how to love the Lord. The men I have mentioned above all failed at times in their loyalty to the Lord, but when the ultimate tests came they passed.  Would I?  Would you?  I find it hard to express my love to the Lord verbally but I hope he knows “all things” and knows that I love Him as a friend.  
Tests have come over the years.  Some I have passed, some I have failed.  But in my heart, I hope the Lord knows that I am loyal to Him.  I have tried to show that loyalty by studying and obeying the principles of the “how to be saved” Gospel and not just sharing it but preaching it to others.  That has been my primary contribution to the command to “love my neighbor.”  Would people know that I love them?  I hope so.  Would people know that you love them?  Again, I hope so.
We could all ask ourselves an audit question.  Where do my loyalties really lie?
Bruce Collins
Meditation for the week of October 25, 2020

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