By Timothy Johnson
God loves you. Any doubt of that is disproven in the Bible’s most famous verse, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
God loves you so much that He gave His Son as the sacrificial Lamb, whose blood washes away your sins and provides eternal life.
Since the days of Christ, millions have claimed to love God, and often, this love for Him is motivated by His love for us. This reciprocal love is proper and mentioned in the Scriptures. 1 John 4:19, “We love him, because he first loved us.”
The first handful of verses of 1 John 5 speak of God’s love for us, our love for God, and our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Verses two and three are interesting. 1 John 5:2-3, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”
Many Christians relate their love for God with an emotion, a feeling, but in our text, twice in two verses, loving God is tied directly to keeping His commandments.
It is always good to back up Scripture with Scripture. In other words, when you read about a subject in the Bible, see what the Word says about said topic in other passages of Scripture. Jesus, rather adamantly, emphasizes this whole love/commandment relationship. John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
It looks like love has more to do with actions than emotion. God loved us, so He went into action (sacrificing His Son) to provide us with an opportunity for everlasting life.
Many people who claim to love God will speak of their emotions as they hear a song, listen to a sermon, receive a blessing, or have a bad situation removed from their lives. They claim they love God when God is doing all the work here. That sounds like a one-sided relationship. None of this lines up with, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
When we love someone, we should want to see them happy. For example, I will never suggest to my wife that we eat at a Mexican restaurant or have Mexican-style food when we are home alone. Mexican-style is one of my favorites, but she does not care for it at all. Because I love her, I do not want her to eat a meal she would rather never eat. Because I love her, I make a choice with her interests in mind. Because I love her, I want to see her happy.
Bring this physical example over to the spiritual side. If you love Jesus, you will want to make Him happy. In other words, if you love Him, you will keep His commandment.
However, there is more to loving God than just doing what He says. After all, doing something with an attitude of, “I don’t want to, but God says I have to, too,” does not show much love.
Remember how our 1 John 5 passage ended? “… and his commandments are not grievous.”
“Not grievous” means doing what God says is not something Christians will dread. We can imply the opposite. Doing what God wants will bring us joy. After all, Jesus endured the suffering of the cross with joy (Hebrews 12:2).
What we are seeing here is a simple principle of life. When we love someone, we want to make them happy. Therefore, doing what makes them happy gives us joy. Hence, what we are doing seems like a smooth process; it is manageable to accomplish. We do the action with an attitude of love and joy. This process is how “If ye love me, keep my commandments” works.
If loving Jesus is interconnected with doing His commandments, we should ask ourselves – Do we love His commandments? Psalm 119:47, “And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.”
Often, Christians praise God for answered prayer and other blessings, but have you ever lifted your hands to God because of His commandments? Psalm 119:48, “My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved: and I will meditate in thy statutes.”
Praising God for His commandments is something unheard of by most Christians.
Dear God, thank you for the commandment telling me not to steal. It gives me respect for others and their stuff.
Dear Lord, thank you for the commandment that I should not commit adultery. It will keep my eyes centered on my wife and help me not to take her for granted.
Dear God, thank you for telling me you love a cheerful giver. That will help me not to become greedy and keep the needs of others in the forefront of my mind.
Dear Jesus, thank you for commanding me to love my enemy. By telling me this, you have helped me to remember that you love and died for those who do not treat me so well, and they need to see your love through me.
Praising God for His commandments can change who you are, your perspective on life, and your relationship with God and everyone around you.
Christian, look in the mirror of God’s Word and ask yourself – do I love God?
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” – Jesus Christ.
Preacher Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County Indiana. Website: www.preachers-point.com; Email: [email protected]; Mail: 25 W 1200 N; Kingman IN 47952. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Timothy-Preacher-Johnson-101171088326638. All Scripture KJV.