Loving Jesus Christ means What?

John 14:21-24 ESV

“’Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.’ Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, ‘Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?’ Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.’”

Words Can Be Cheap

The words “I love you” can mean absolutely nothing if they are not followed up with action, for love shows itself to be true by what we do, not just in what we say. If we claim to love God (Father, Son – Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit), and if we sing songs of praise and adoration to him, does that automatically mean that we really love him?

If you husband, or you wife, claim to love your spouse, do you show it by what you do? Are you being faithful? Or are you just mouthing the words while you cheat on your spouse in private? Words can be so cheap if they are not followed up with action. And some of those words are in marriage vows in which the couple getting married promise to love and to cherish one another, forsaking all others, keeping themselves only unto their spouse, for so long as they both shall live.

And there are so many “love songs” out there in the world, and in the Christian world, too, which give false professions of love, and even of faithfulness, which are often based in emotions (feelings) and are not being followed up with action at all. They talk about the love that they feel, but feelings can be so deceiving, and feelings fluctuate, and feelings come and go, and they are often based in our circumstances, not in actions.

Well, the same it is with loving Jesus. Saying “I love you” to him and really loving God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) can be two entirely different things. Singing songs of praise and worship to God and feeling all emotional during that time does not mean we love God/Jesus at all. For we can have emotional experiences that have no substance to them at all. Feeling emotional about God and loving him may be as different as night and day.

So don’t confuse feelings with real love. Sometimes those feelings are based in lust, not love, and in what makes the person doing the loving feel good, rather than in consideration of what is best for the other person. Hollywood and the music industry have given us many false ideas of what real love is and we must not get caught up in those notions, especially when it comes to loving God and loving our spouses and our children and other people, too.

What is love?

Well, when Jesus Christ (God) tells us to love him, what does he say about love? He says if we love him we will obey him, and if we do not obey him we do not love him, and if we do not obey him we do not know him, and if we do not obey him that heaven is not our eternal destiny. Plain as it can be! And he said these words also through his messengers. So if we say we love the Lord, but we don’t obey him, in practice, that makes us liars.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 8:51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:10; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Rom 12:1-2; Tit 2:11-14; Heb 5:9; 1 Pet 1:1-2; Jas 1:21-25; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Php 2:12-13; Jn 10:27-30; Acts 5:32]

Now pay attention to what Jesus said here. If we love the Lord, we will obey him and his commandments (New Covenant). And if we love him, which is evidenced by our obedience to him, then God the Father and Jesus Christ will love us, and Jesus will manifest (reveal, show) himself to us. And God the Father and Jesus Christ (God the Son) will come to us and make their home with us. Therefore, we can’t be in genuine relationship with the Lord if we are not willing to obey him, in practice.

Many people profess faith in Jesus Christ, at least here in America, who do not obey him at all. Many people are being taught in the gatherings of what is called “church” today that they are not required to obey the Lord or to submit to him as Lord (Owner-Master) or to forsake their lives of living in sin and for self. And some people are calling such teachings on obedience to God “works-based salvation,” as though God does not say this to us.

But Jesus said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven. And then he went on to say that many are going to stand before him one day and tell of all the things that they did on this earth in the name of Jesus. But Jesus is going to declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” Why? Because they did not obey the Lord. They did not do his will but their own will. (Matt 7:21-23)

The Apostle John really laid it out for us when he said that if we say we know God/Jesus, but we don’t do what he says, i.e. if we don’t obey his commandments (New Covenant), then we are liars and the truth is not in us. And then he said if we love the things of this sinful world, instead, that the love of God the Father is not in us. And if we make a practice of sinning, and if righteousness and obedience are not our practice, that we are not born of God but we are of the devil (1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17; 1 Jn 3:4-10).

So, obedience to our Lord is not optional. It is neither to be discarded nor to be taken lightly as though it does not matter for eternity. It does. Read these Scriptures referenced here. They make it quite plain that to obey the Lord is to love him, and if we do not obey him we do not love him, and if we do not obey him we do not have eternal life in him.

It is a lot like a marriage. Saying we love him and doing what shows we love him are two different things. We must be faithful to our Lord, and not just mouth words of love to him which he knows we do not mean. And the same needs to be applied to our marriage relationships and to our relationships with other humans, too. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments” (1 John 5:2-3).

Trust and Obey

Words by John H. Sammis, 1887
Music by Daniel B. Towner, 1887

When we walk with the Lord
in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

But we never can prove
the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows,
for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet
We will sit at His feet.
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
What He says we will do,
Where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

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