It is easy for any of us as Christians to declare our love for God. However, there must be evidence of our devotion to Him. Our daily conduct must reflect the love that we claim to have.
To help us examine our love for God, we asked three pertinent questions in our article last week:
1. Do we love the presence of God?
2. Do we love God’s Word?
3. Are we concerned about grieving God?
Today, we continue with another series of questions that will help us to know if we truly love God:
4. Do we obey His Word?
A strong proof of our love for God is our obedience to His Word: “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (Jn. 14: 15 cf. v 21). These were Jesus’ words of comfort to His despondent disciples who were grieved that He was leaving them soon. Instead of mourning and grieving, they could show their love for Him by obeying His commandments. Doing so would surely gladden the heart of their dying Lord and Master.
Though Jesus addressed these words of consolation to His disciples, they are just as applicable to us today. If we say we love God, we will desire to please Him – by keeping His Word. A mere profession of love without an obedient heart is hypocrisy. As the saying goes – “Actions speak louder than words.”
“Love without obedience is but dissimulation: obedience without love is but drudgery and slavery. Such a love as produces obedience, must be a dutiful love; a love of reverence and honour to him as a commander, and an operative and working love, a labour of love, as the apostle calls it; Not waiters, but workers, are the best servants in Christ’s esteem. And such an obedience as is the product of love, will be a willing, easy, and cheerful obedience, a pleasing and an acceptable obedience, a constant and abiding obedience; all other motives without love are servile and base, and beget in us the drudgery of a slave, but not the duty of a son: He that fears God only, is afraid of smarting: but he that loves God, is afraid of offending” (William Burkitt’s Expository Notes).
5. Do we seek God with single-minded devotion?
One who loves God is willing to renounce all things to follow Him. We see this single-minded devotion in the life of the apostle Paul whose sole pursuit in life was to “win Christ”: “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philp. 3: 8).
When he was converted, the apostle gave up “his brilliant prospects in regard to this life, and everything indeed on which his heart had been placed. He abandoned the hope of honour and distinction; he sacrificed every prospect of gain or ease … He might have risen to the highest posts of honour in his native land, and the path which an ambitious young man desires was fully open before him. But all this had been cheerfully sacrificed in order that he might obtain an interest in the Saviour, and partake of the blessings of his religion” (Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible).
The loss of “all things” for the apostle included his prestigious Jewish heritage, credentials and attainments – “Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” (Philp. 3: 5-6). These were things which Paul had once held in high esteem but he now considered them “but dung” in comparison with the excellency of gaining Christ.
The apostle’s love for God was reflected in his life and service. Nothing else mattered to him – his own comfort, physical well-being, the praise of men, even his life: “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20: 24). Because of his love for God, Paul gave his life whole-heartedly to the Lord’s service. In many of his epistles, he spoke of his all-consuming passion – to preach “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (I Cor. 2: 2). His only glory was in the cross of Christ (Gal. 6: 14).
Brethren, do we truly love God? Let us reflect our love for Him by an obedient walk and a life of single-minded devotion and service. May we be willing to give up all things in order to “win Christ”. May the Lord help us to love and follow Him with our whole heart.
(… to be continued)