Jesus asked, “Do you love me?”
Can you imagine Jesus asking you that?
In my youth I would arrogantly answer this question with “Yes Jesus I love you!” having absolutely no idea what that really means. It just seems like the right thing to say when the King of all kings and Lord of all lords is questioning your love for Him. Uh what am I going to say “No?” Of course not.
Honestly I couldn’t answer that question in my youth. I was sort of bound up by the whole “love God thing” I know that sounds silly, but let me explain.
I had this love guage that some religiious lawyer tried to hang around my neck and take my love tempature with it. He would use the Scripture “if you love me you will obey me.” My obedience was the guage Satan used against me pointing out every failure, every stubborn willful “no” saying “See you don’t love God! Your a liar, your not saved!”
This love gauge also worked against me when I did obey. It was creating this false sense of security in me. Because I wasn’t truly loving God, I was just doing stuff to make it look like I loved God. My heart was truly far from enjoying it. My heart on some occassions was complaining the whole time. I was doing all this stuff to prove my love that I wasn’t really experiencing. What kind of loving personal relationship is that? A tyrannical one that’s what.
One day Jesus asked me “Do you love me?” What I heard was “Why won’t you obey me?” In my frustrated exasperated reply was “Jesus you are the hardest person ever to love, I can’t love you unless you help me. Jesus I don’t even know what real love is! And if always getting it right is any indication than NO I DON’T!”
Then He gently asked me again, this time I heard Him loud and clear! It set me free.
I saw for the first time that obedience was a reflex to His love and not the other way around. I also realized when I did obey Him I was overwhelmed and awed by more of His love. It was the catalyst for me to trust and lean into Him more. I wanted to obey Him, my will was lining up with His.
I also saw my love is very immature compared to His. I can’t in this frail human body contain God’s kind of love. The only reason I can love like Him is because He first loved me! I was spending all kinds of wasted frustrated energy trying to love God.
The Holy Spirit has been pouring out the heavenly indescrible love in my heart ever since.
I also realized, I had to loose the guage. Only Jesus can gauge my love. How can I accurately gauge something I don’t know anything about?
God’s love goes past reason. I believe if it’s so deep and so wide we can’t even begin to measure it. I believe when we get to heaven we will see, hear and taste what true love really is. I believe this love is indescribible, no mere word can define it. It will take all of eternity to fully experience it.
He has taken on the responsibility of cultivating love in my life. All I have to do is keep my eyes on the prize and that’s Him.
What I have learned in this crazy love-obedience things is, His love wins! The more I get to know Him and His ways, the more I want what He wants. The more I am overwhelmed with His loving kindness the more time I want to spend with Him. The more He pours out His love into my heart the more I want to step out. The more I contemplate this bottomless well of love the more I’m in awe of Him!
It’s out of order if we think we can obey and then love. It’s out of order to bang people over the head with a spiritual to do list in order for them to love God.
People will obey after they are exposed to the love of God. Loving kindness brings repentence.
I just can’t love like God loves unless He pours it out on me. Thankfully He does. I love because He first loved me. He schools me on love and I am overwhelmed.
“Do you love me?” Lord you know everything about me. You know how to cultivate that love, how to fill my heart with it. Lord you know I love you, because your the one who put it there”