Our Love for God
Do we really understand what love for God is? Do we really understand how God wants us to love him? Where can we go to find the answers to these questions? Should we ask the world? No, the world has no idea. Should we ask fellow Christians? This is better, but sadly, many Christians today don’t know the answer to these questions either. Where can we find the answers? Perhaps we should ask God! He is always right and there is no doubt that he will give us the right answer. As a matter of fact, God has already answered this question in the following verse:
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”
(I John 5:3)
God has told us that to love him is to obey him. It really is that simple. And following God’s commandments is not something that will make us grieve. It is essential that we understand that this is not a cold, mechanical obedience that makes our pathway one of sorrow and weary servitude, for it is quite the opposite. The writer of Psalm 119 understood this very well:
“Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.”
“And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.”
Perhaps this will surprise you, but God has also told us that if we don’t have this kind of love that we don’t even know him:
“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”
(I John 4:8)
Jesus exposed the foolishness of calling him Lord while not obeying him, because a lord is a master - one to whom we owe unquestioning obedience.
“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”
Many commandments in the Old Testament were given for symbolic reasons. For example, the many animal sacrifices were all symbolic of Christ’s single sacrifice of himself. There are many “shadows” in the Old Testament(a term used in the book of Hebrews that speaks of observances and commands that provide only a general representation of Christ). God no longer intends for his children to follow these because we no longer have only shadows - Christ himself has appeared. If I see the shadow of a loved one who is standing around a corner, the shadow is very important to me because it is proof that the loved one is near but in itself, it is only a very crude representation of that person. Once they come around the corner, my attention turns away from the shadow and to the person. To place emphasis on the shadow at this point would be foolishness.
I had a person once tell me, “I didn’t know there were any commandments in the New Testament!”. Oh yes, there are many.
Jesus summarized the law in the following manner:
“Jesus said unto him,
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it,
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
This love for God is an obedient love; a love that follows him as a child would follow their father. Our love for our neighbor is one that puts their needs above ours, that draws them to Christ, and that does not cause them to stumble as they follow Christ.
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments:
and his commandments are not grievous.”
(I John 5:3)