By Ron Thomas
There are many who say they love God, but when asked how one can show love to God, they come up short – that is, they are uncertain how to answer or even what the correct answer is. They might say something like “Well, I know my own heart and I know there is a God, and
there is no chance I’ll deny Him – so I know I love God!” This sound commendable, but is it accurate? Perhaps someone will say “Since God is love and He loves everyone, it seems to me that is good, so I’ll return the response.” This sounds less commendable, but it may reflect some who express their love for God.
Do you remember the song that was a hit back in the mid-1980s, “I want to know what love is”? How many would sing that song and be able to relate with it perfectly? However, many there may be, knowing what love is, is as simple as knowing the Lord. In truth, knowing the Lord and His definition of love is better than anything that comes from the mind of man, don’t you think? I do!
Those who say they love God but do not obey Him simply do not know what love is. They will tell you they do and, I suppose, in a limited sense, they do. Their standard, however, is not that which belongs to the Lord; thus, they are confused about the application of what love is. With this confusion, there is an influence extended to others and they, too, become confused (parents to children, for instance).
In effect, they have no love for God at all!
How can this be? It is this way because the privilege of saying “I love God” and it being accepted by the Lord does not belong to the one saying it! Knowledge is the foundation upon which one’s personal philosophy of life is lived. If there is no knowledge of what love is, then it’s not possible for one to exhibit what is unknown. Some understand this and seek to gain what they don’t have. Others, care not at all. They want to live as they choose, substantive knowledge is of little value to them. For others, there is a pretension of knowledge, but this knowledge is not based on what the Scripture teaches, only what they think or want to think.
Because of this, they both arrive at the same destination, which is at the cliff’s edge. Sadly, the momentum is such that they can’t stop and off they go! They made a choice to walk their own paths, believing, perhaps, the adage, “many roads lead to heaven, choose the one best or you.”So, how can one know accurately whether he loves God or not? In 1 John 5, there are two answers. First, one needs to come to God and believe what He says (Heb. 11:6). To not come to God and obey is, in effect, to call God a liar. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in him: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he hath not believed in the witness that God hath borne concerning his Son (1 John 5:10, ASV). Second, when one follows the biblical pattern of believe, this necessarily translates into obedience of heart and actions. Hereby we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and do his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous (5:2-3).
- Ron Thomas preaches for the Church of Christ at Rio Grande in Bidwell, OH. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org