So What Does It Mean To Love Jesus?
Written by Mark Wickersham, ECS Director of Spiritual Formation
This month we celebrate Valentine’s Day, so the sale of cards, candy, chocolates, carnations, and candlelit dinners will soon increase exponentially. The National Retail Federation says that Americans spent nearly $24 billion dollars for Valentine’s Day last year. 24 BILLION dollars. That’s a lot of loot!
I would enjoy sharing my love story of how I met Megan or how I messed up on our first Valentine’s Day date in China, but those stories will need to wait for another day (feel free to ask if you see me). I want to talk about a greater love – Jesus’ love for me which enables me to love Him and others (1 John 4:19).
The Pew Research Center says there are over two billion Christians; however, this can’t be right. It’s much more accurate to say that over two billion people claim to be Christians. There aren’t over two billion people loving Jesus on this planet. So what does it mean to love Jesus? Let’s see what Scripture says. Specifically, let’s see what the one who is commonly identified as the disciple whom Jesus loved wrote.
1. John 14:23-24 says, 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. To love Jesus means that we obey His commands. If we aren’t in His Word though, how can we know His commands? We can’t. If we truly love God, we will read His Word regularly, constantly thinking about it, and delighting in what He says (Psalm 1).
2. John 15:12-13 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. To love Jesus means that we love people. Even the messy ones? Yup. Even the messy ones. But we’re never messy, right? So whether you’re an introvert like me or an extrovert like my wife, we must be upward and outward-focused and engage others. We must serve people with joy (1 Peter 4:10), encourage who we can (1 Thessalonians 5:11), and point them to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). This isn’t an option. Just do it.
So there are a couple MAJOR points in what it means to love Jesus. Loving Jesus means you are a doer of the Word (which means you need to get in your Bible) and you love people. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! So how are you doing loving Jesus?
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Matthew 22:37