20 Jan 2014
What do you really love? The answer to this question may be the most important thing about us. The answer no doubt has implications impacting our lives for their duration on this earth and throughout all eternity! But wait you may say. What about the importance of what I know? What about the importance of what I believe? What about the importance of what I do? Are these things not more important than what I love?
We are told by Jesus the most important thing we should obey is …….
Matthew 22:36-40 (ASV)
36 Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 And he said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the great and first commandment.
39 And a second like unto it is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
40 On these two commandments the whole law hangeth, and the prophets. (enphsis added)
In another place Jesus instructs us concerning the Law and the Prophets:
Matthew 5:17-19 (NASB77)
17 "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.
18 "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished.
19 "Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
We are a nation of believers who are in the main overly enamored by what we know. We have been seduced into the trance of the nobility of knowledge. We study and study and learn and learn, but where is our obeying? We often think that if we understand what a particular passage of scripture communicates our understanding in itself is sufficient.
Our God speaking through His servant Samuel gives to us this distilled direction:
1 Samuel 15:22 (NASB95)
22 Samuel said, "Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. (emphasis added)
While obeying is very important in the eyes of God why is it that He said to love Him with all of our heart and mind and strength is the first and most important command? To attempt to address this question perhaps we should examine some of our deeper motives. Could it be that to love God as He commands provides the best and most consistent motive to trust Him and thus to obey Him?
Love is designed to be a reciprocal arrangement. God loved us first and we are to respond to His continuing love by loving Him with all that is in us. 1 John 4:15-19 (NASB95)
15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
19 We love, because He first loved us. (emphasis added)
Here we see a progression. First we know of God’s love then we believe in God’s love and thus placing us in a position to receive His love. Receiving God’s love and abiding in God’s love is apparently the key to abiding in Him and His abiding in us. Could it be that while what we believe is very important and what we know is critical, that how we actually respond to the love God has for us is the most important thing about our lives?
It seems apparent that within ourselves there is not the capacity to love God as we are commanded to so do. But God provides even this. God has for all recorded history provided for men and women what they need to honor Him. We are nothing and have nothing to bring to God except what He has provided. In the Garden soon after the fall, God provided an animal sacrifice to cover the sin and the nakedness of His first beloved creatures created in His image. On Mount Moriah God provided a ram for a sacrifice in the place of Abraham’s only son Isaac. On the hill called Calvary God provided the sacrifice required to save us from eternal death, separation from God for all eternity.
Romans 5:5 (GW)
5 We're not ashamed to have this confidence, because God's love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (emphasis added)
God provides everything we need! He pours out His love into our hearts by His Spirit in order that we can love Him with our entire being and love our neighbors as ourselves.
But to love God with the love He has provided,requires that we love not the world or the things of this world. God has given us a choice, to love Him or the love the world and the things of this world.
1 John 2:15-16 (AMP)
15 Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]. (emphasis added )
The world and its things are very seductive.
Another promise we should consider …. from Romans 8:28
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (emphasis added)
If the love for the Father is not in the one who loves the things of this world, it would seem that the promise of all things working together for good may be null and void for those who love the things of this world.
So again the question …… what do we love?
Abiding in the vine is not only resulting in fruit bearing, but true abiding is no doubt the result of loving the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. The branch must abide in the Vine first and for a time before fruit appears. It is not the fruit that connects the branch to the vine, but rather the love relationship empowered by the Holy Spirit providing the love connection that provides for fruit to be borne.
Would you agree that authentic fruit is the direct or indirect result of love? We are speaking of the love that comes from God to us and our love that is actually His love received and redirected back to Him and distributed to others. God is the manufacturer of genuine love, we are only distributors.
1 John 3:1a (AMP)
1 SEE WHAT [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are!
As we respond appropriately in love to the incredible love that God is constantly showering upon us, the power of our prayers will be appreciably amplified.
1 John 3:21-22 (NASB95)
21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;
22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.
In the devotional “Experiencing God Day By Day” by Henry and Richard Blackaby we read these insightful words:
“As Jesus walked among people, the Father’s love filled His Son. Jesus recognized that no ordinary love could motivate Him to go to the cross. No human love could keep Him perfectly obedient to His Father throughout His life. Only the Father’s love was powerful enough to compel Him to commit His life to the saving purpose of His Father.
Jesus prayed that God would place this same love in His disciples. He knew that no other motivation would be sufficient for the assignments God had for them. God’s answer was to place His Son in them.”
Abiding in His love changes both our lives and our prayers. The one who loves God with all of his heart receives the promise of God to obtain whatever he asks because his unrestrained love for God inevitably brings him to a place of full obedience of heart and action.
Only this love from the Father will be powerful enough in our lives to motivate us to trust and obey the direction of the Word and the Spirit in our lives. Only this love will motivate our prayers to be fervent and passionately synchronized to God’s purposes and His will for His glory alone.
Father, help us to daily receive from Your Son and Your Spirit an overflowing portion of Your love!