You’re always asking us questions. This week it’s our turn to ask you. With Valentine’s Day only one week away, it’s time to start thinking about how we will express our love to those whom we love. Some will give cards, candy or flowers. Others will give gifts or plan a special meal or event. Whatever you do, February 14th is a day for affirming affection for those you love by telling them just how precious they are to you.
So what’s our question as Valentine’s Day approaches? It’s about love, of course. And you might guess it’s the first and foremost important question that all people, everywhere, must answer. We’ll address it first, but keep reading. That’s not our question.
“Do you love Jesus?”
Those who belong to Jesus will be quick to answer “yes,” because we know the great gifts we received when He saved us and gave us His righteousness, the Holy Spirit, and eternal life with Him. Those gifts are more precious than all the Valentine cards, candies, flowers, or gifts. We certainly love Jesus for who He is and what He has done for us and in us.
But there’s another question. And it important after answering the first.
“Do you demonstrate your love for Jesus?”
We know that we love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19), but do we live our lives demonstrating our love for Him? Do we demonstrate a sacrificial love for others and thereby reflect His love? You might be wondering, just what does that mean? How do we love like He did, and how do we reflect His love?
Jesus spoke about demonstrating love by obedience to the will of His Father, when He said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me…” (John 14:21)
According to this text, loving Jesus is demonstrated by more than just words of affection. It is also demonstrated by actions of obedience. God’s commandments are perfect and just. They reflect His Person and Character and therefore by keeping them we reflect Him. We might sometimes think it is too difficult to keep the commandments of God, but we must then remember that we have been given both the ability and the power to do so.
The Holy Spirit, the Power of the Resurrection who lives in us, enables us to know (understand) God’s will. He also fuels us, by His power coupled with our love for Jesus, to keep (obey) God’s commandments. In doing so, we demonstrate our love for God.
Just as the power of the Holy Spirit fuels our love and obedience, so also does our union with Jesus. Jesus said to His disciples:
John 15:10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”
The word “keep” means to guard. Strong’s dictionary explains it to mean guarding “from loss or injury…by keeping the eye upon.” How we guard our ways and where we set our eyes will determine our response to God’s commands.
So you might now be wondering, how do we guard our ways and set our eyes? The answer begins with renewing our minds in God’s Word. The direction of our lives is determined by our most dominate thoughts. If we fill our minds with the words of God’s love, truth, faithfulness, power and security, we will move closer to Him; and the Holy Spirit will be able to work in and through us. However, if we fill our mind with the ways of the world, our eyes will be directed to worldly goals and gain and our hearts will follow. This is why we are told to be “looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith” (Heb 12:2). Filling our minds with God’s Word and focusing our eyes on Jesus produces an abiding love–the abiding love that Jesus spoke of and the obedience that He desires.
Three Great Love Commandments
1) Love is a dominant theme throughout all of Scripture. And, the Bible not only speaks of the love God gives to us but also the love God desires from us. First and foremost we are to love Him…
Matt 22:37 ”You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
2) With the love we have received from God and the love that we have for Him, we are commanded to love others sacrificially…
Mat 22:39 “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
John 13:34 “A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
3) It’s easy to love God, who loves us so lavishly, and it’s easy to love those who are near and dear to us. But Jesus loved all people, including His enemies — and we are called to do the same. Only the love of Christ enables us to keep this last of the three great love commandments…
Mat 5:44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you”
This was a new command, not found in the Old Testament, and keeping it produces one of the greatest demonstrations of our love for Jesus, as well as reflecting the love that we have received from God.
Rom 5:8 God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
The death of Jesus demonstrated both the sacrificial love of both the Father and Son and that is the kind of love we are to have for our enemies. Jesus prayed that we would receive and experience this love…
John 17:26 “And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
Valentine’s Day Love
On this Valentine’s Day, demonstrate your love for God, for your family and friends (your neighbors) and for your enemies. Do you best, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to love like Jesus, remembering His words…
John 15:10-12 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
Answering Our Questions
The first was easy. Do you really love Jesus? I’m sure you answered, yes.
Now, let’s change the second one a bit. Let’s answer, How will you demonstrate your love for Jesus today? Pause right now and think of one, two, three, or more ways that you can show your love for Jesus today, and then commit to doing so. Thereby you will glorify your Father by loving and serving others.
Mat 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
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When the Battle is Lost but the Victory is Won — Saying Goodbye to a Friend
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