Friday, February 14, 2020

Love Is All About The Heart

Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” –  Matthew 22:35-39

February 14th is a traditional holiday in this country. It is a day when people express their love for each other by going to dinner, buying chocolates, and cards.  It is like a culmination of the expression of love.  A lawyer was trying to trick Jesus with his question, but Jesus told him that the whole of God’s revelation to man through the Scriptures was “Love”. Loving God and loving others. Not natural affection – but a sacrificial love that puts the one who loves after the one being loved.

My brother and his family recently moved from Arizona back to our home state, Illinois.  I tell people that is a good state to be “from”. Emphasis on the “from”. Martie and I have not lived there since 1974.  He sent me a picture of him shoveling snow with the caption, “Tell me again why I moved from Arizona?” My response was, because you love your wife and then referenced Ephesians 5:25. He responded, “Oh yeah, that’s the reason.”

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” – Ephesians 5:25

That is the picture of love. Expressing love on February 14th is noble, but the proof of that love is what happens the other 364 days of the year. Jesus tested Peter’s heart when Jesus asked Peter if he loved Jesus.

So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’
He said to him, ‘Feed My lambs.’ He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed My sheep.’” – John 21:15-17

Do you love me more than these? Is there anything to which you are more devoted than Me? Do you really love God with all or just some.  Do you really love your wife, or wives, your husbands, above all others and other things?  Love like that is a result of our love for God. It is not merely affection, compatibility, or attraction, it is sacrificial – unconditional.

We love Him [God] because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19

God is the source of Agape love – the kind of love that the world can never conjure. And how is that love expressed? Through sacrificial devotion and action. It is not with gifts, not with cards, not with words – but with a life lived devoted to the one loved – putting the one who is loved before yourself. So God might ask you what Jesus asked Peter – and He is. Do you love Me, then obey My commands. And the most important command? Love Him and others like He loves us.

How deep the Father's love for us. How vast beyond all measure. That He should give His only Son. To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss. The Father turns His face away. As wounds which mar the Chosen One. Bring many sons to glory
Behold the man upon a cross. My sin upon His shoulders. Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice. Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there. Until it was accomplished. His dying breath has brought me life. I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything. No gifts, no power, no wisdom. But I will boast in Jesus Christ. His death and resurrection.” (How Deep The Father’s Love, Stuart Townend)

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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