SIMPLE TRUTH: Now truthfully, do you love the Lord?

Published 2:30 pm Tuesday, March 25, 2014

By Charles Christmas

Sometimes I will hear a person who is leading in prayer begin by hurriedly saying “I love you, Lord” or “We love you, Lord,” as if the Lord does not know whether we don’t or whether we do love him. Or, maybe in a testimony time, someone will rise and express, “Well I just want to say that I love the Lord.” As for me, I cannot bring myself to say in public or public prayer, “I love you, Lord” or “I love the Lord,” unless it might be connected like “We (or I) love the Lord because he first loved us.” I am quite obsessed with the simple truth that my Lord is “all-knowing and all-seeing,” and he says “do not love in talking but by action and without hypocrisy” (1 John 3:18).

Now, let’s go back to my topic’s question, “Do you truthfully love the Lord?” To be prepared for your answer for such an all-inclusive question you need to be asked at least four simple focus questions.

First, do you love his book, his word? Can you imagine claiming that you love someone who wrote you a letter every day and every day you pitched that letter into the garbage without ever opening it? That is exactly what some who claim to love the Lord do to the Lord. They do not want to see or hear what God has to say to them. They don’t care about it. They don’t have time for it; it has no priority at all. How contradictory to someone who says that he loves the Lord! The first Christians “devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching (God’s word).” Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, then you are really my disciples” (John 8:31). Describing a person who loves the Lord, in Psalm 1:1, is says that “his delight is in the word and truth of the Lord.” So, truthfully, do you love the Lord? Do you love his word, his truth, his book?

Second, do you love the Lord’s people? The Bible says, “We know that we are saved because we love our brothers in the Lord” (1 John 3:14) If you love the Lord, it translates into loving God’s people. The Bible says concerning the first Christians, “All the believers were together” (Acts 2:44). Jesus was “a friend of sinners” but spent his time primarily with his disciples. Jesus cared for all people, but “He loved the church and gave himself for it” and “purchased it with his own blood.” What kind of persons do you desire as your closest friends: believers? What kind of a person did you seek as a mate for life, a believer? I have tried to be a friend to anyone and everyone. But, my first love is God’s people. This became real for me in middle school. In the tenth grade I decided it must be a Christian if I ever married. Moving away from my family to a city for my twelfth grade, my commitment was to find believers for my closest friends. The first night and week as a freshman on the University of Alabama campus, I was seeking for believers as my intimate companions. Joining the Navy at age 17, it was believers whom I was seeking as my intimate companions. Truthfully, do you love the Lord? Does all-knowing God know that you have a first love for the Lord’s people?

Third, do you to love to keep the Lord’s commands. Is it a high priority for you to obey the Lord and to do the will of God in your life? Jesus said, “Whoever knows my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me” (John 14:21). Again Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teachings” (John 14:23). In Matthew 7:21 Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” So truthfully, do you love the Lord? Do you love to obey the Lord’s commands and to seek to do his will in your life?

Charles Christmas is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Thursday.