The Greatest of These (3)
“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?'”
Peter was clearly unnerved by Jesus’ question. He was still living in the shame of having denied the Lord and the mystery of having seen Him alive from the dead. Now Jesus pressed the point, focusing Peter on the question of where his true treasure lay. “Do you love Me?”, He asked the fisherman three times.
What if God were to ask you that question? And what if, when you answered like Peter, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you”, suppose God were to respond, “Well, how do I know?” How do we know when we are loving God? What does that look like? How should we prepare for it? How can we keep from missing opportunities to love God, so that both He and we know that our love is genuine and true? If we don’t know what loving God involves, or how we should do it, how will this ever become the true treasure of our hearts?
Here I want to suggest seven indicators that will say to us and God that we truly love Him. By growing, enjoying, and serving the Lord in each of these areas, we may reach increasing assurance that our love for God is genuine. I will simply mention these in fairly rapid succession.
First, we know that we love God when we love His presence. The psalmist tells us that in the presence of God we may know fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Ps. 16:11). The Apostle Paul urges us to seek the presence and glory of God, for here is where we will most surely be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3:12-18). We love God when we love His presence and resort there often.
We also love God when we love His Word – reading, meditating, studying in the Word, hiding it in our hearts and sharing it eagerly with others (Col. 3:16), saying with Jeremiah that His Word is the joy of our hearts (Jer. 15:16).
We love God when we love His salvation, and when we work hard to unpack that glorious gift to increasing fullness in our everyday lives (Phil. 2:12; Ps. 116:13).
When we love God’s creation, which He loves (Jn. 3:16), we are also loving the Lord. By giving ourselves to the study and enjoyment of creation, and to cultivating and conserving it so as to bring out the glory of God to others, we are demonstrating true love for our Father, Who owns it all (Ps. 111:2; Ps. 115:16; Ps. 8:6; Deut. 22:6, 7; Hab. 2:14; Ps. 24:1).
We may also be seen to love God when we love His works – creation, providence, and redemption – and when we talk about these eagerly and often, boasting of the greatness of our God and of His love.
We love God as we look forward to His appearing in the last days to take us home to Himself in glory. All who love the Lord Jesus pray, “Maranatha!” – “Come, Lord,” and bring us to Your eternal glory.
Finally, we love God when we love bringing His praises to others, and to the generations that will succeed us. As evidence of our love for God, we delight in raising our children unto the Lord, leading others to the Lord, doing the work of making disciples, and contributing to the building-up of the Body of Christ.
When you see these seven indicators at work in your life, and growing, you can have confidence that you are loving God as you should out of the treasury of your heart of love.
Review each of the seven indicators of love for God mentioned in this article. On a scale of 1 to 10, rate yourself as to how well you are expressing love for God in each of these areas. Share the results of your self-evaluation with some Christian friends. Ask for their prayers to help you grow in love for God.
This week’s series, The Greatest of These, is available in a free downloadable format, suitable for group study.
For more insight to the practice of temperance, order the book, Loving God, by Charles Colson. For more insight to the true nature of love, read the article, “True Love,” by Regis Nicoll.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.