Dear Fellow Disciple:
He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Tend My sheep" (John 21:17).
It is difficult for many of us to love Jesus. We accept His death on the cross; we are grateful for that. We worship Him because He is seated at the right hand of the Father; we realize He is Lord, and deserving of our worship. But do we love Him? Do some of us fabricate a love for Jesus that we really don't feel, but believe we should have in order to be good Christians?
What is our perception of Jesus? Is it based upon the knowledge acquired by listening to others, or has a relationship been established? Have we witnessed the experiences and heard the testimonies of our friends, yet harbored doubt in our hearts because we have had no exciting experience of our own?
What do we lack? Why are we unable to experience something we so desperately want? Why can't we love Jesus with the fervor we see in others? Is there something within us that prohibits us from reaching out to our Lord with all our heart?
Jesus told us to love God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength! We know that to love God, we must love Jesus because no one can come to the Father except through Jesus. So we're back to square one. We must love Jesus.
Perhaps we should define love. Simply stated, love is the preference of one person for another person. It carries with it the desire and ability to surrender self in favor of that other one. Because of this, true love is unnatural to the flesh.
Love we manufacture is always conditional, and can turn into lust at any moment. We may have affection for someone, but affection doesn't have the true nature of love in it.
Actually, the love we're looking for, pure and unconditional love, comes from one source only, "....the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us" (Romans 5:5). Does this mean we are unable to love unconditionally, on our own? Yes, it means just that.
We must let this Scripture soak in:
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
And 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.
By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.
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.
We love, because He first loved us (1 John 4:15-19).
Unless we open ourselves to receive God's love, we can try all we want, but never be able to love Jesus with the intensity He requires. We can pray for Him to increase our ability to love Him, but it will never happen until we submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit, whose job it is to "pour it out", or to "shed it abroad" in our hearts. (Romans 5:5)
The Holy Spirit must first reveal who Jesus is. The raising of Lazarus was not simply Jesus performing the act of raising the dead. Instead, He said, "I AM the resurrection!" It is not that He gives us life, HE IS the life! It is not that He gives us bread, HE IS the bread! The testimony of the Holy Spirit about Jesus is what Jesus IS Himself! And we are thrust into the center of that magnificence by the sovereign act of God, because we have agreed to believe.
Understanding this can never be acquired by listening to teaching, it becomes a reality by accepting what Paul talks about in Romans 6, then carried out by living in union with Christ. That unbroken fellowship produces a rich, wonderful life, filled with tremendous spiritual results.
We are so filled with His love, that we can love Him as He wishes, and we can properly tend His sheep. The living water, vitally and inseparably linked with Jesus, flows from us to others with virtually no effort on our part. Jesus is Life, Light, and Love, and our union with Him reflects all that.
How do we accomplish this? How do we acquire a love for Jesus that results in our being able to tend His sheep? Let's go over it once again. Love must be personal to be anything at all; therefore, we must establish a personal relationship with Jesus. This is accomplished by talking to Him, by laying out our lives before Him and inviting Him to help Himself.
He builds the relationship by degrees, bringing our lives into oneness with Him. We focus our attention with every ounce of energy upon that relationship. When we commit to Jesus with that kind of determination, He meets us at the commitment point and guides us into the relationship we both desire.
Does it sound too simple? It is too simple for our intellect. But our intellect is not to be confused with God's wisdom. Every facet of our relationship with God depends upon our step of faith in His wisdom. We must remember, faith always precedes understanding. If that were not the case, there would be no need for faith, and without faith it is impossible to please God!
Jesus is King!
P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?
Question for today: How much do I Love Jesus?