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From the Preacher’s Pen…

Have you ever been in love? Do you remember what it is like to be in love? One of the greatest difficulties for us as human beings is remembering to really keep our love alive and not grow tired of someone.

A simple illustration: The first time you held your newborn child, remember that feeling of love, that care and concern, that desire to protect and care for them? Now, fast forward six months. Check out the sleep-deprived parent of that same child with a cold and cutting their first tooth. The frustration at a given moment may well seem to overshadow the love you once felt.

The fact is, like the Apostle Paul said so well in 1 Corinthians 13, we must constantly remember what real love is and how it acts. So, let’s take a moment to reflect on God’s lesson about our love for Him:

Loving the Lord

Let’s begin with Romans 8:28 where Paul said, And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Two things we must keep in mind here: First, God’s “good” is promised for those that love Him. Second, God defines loving Him as how we live in obedience to Him.

Without obedience, we don’t really love Him and we cannot expect His blessings. You can easily check that fact with John’s words of 1 John 5:2, By this we know that we love the children of God when we love God and observe His commandments.

This has ALWAYS been God’s definition of really loving Him! Deuteronomy 6:5 states the basic standard: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

From that passage forward God corrects numerous misunderstandings. Deuteronomy 11:1 emphasizes keeping all of His requirements, statutes, ordinances, commandments. As Jesus reminded Satan (Matthew 4:4), every word of God is important!

In Deuteronomy 11:13 and 22 God reminds us that all our blessings are contingent on faithful love and service, our obedience to Him.

Deuteronomy 13:3 is one of the many times God underscores the reminder that false teachers are NOT to be followed. In fact, they are a test that God uses to find out if we really love Him!

To simplify all this, Deuteronomy 30:16 tells us that loving God to the point of total obedience is the absolute basis of all blessings and life. That’s actually the same concept as Paul stated in Romans 8:28.

The songs of God’s people carry the same lessons:

  • O love the Lord,
  • all you His godly ones!
  • The Lord preserves the faithful
  • and fully recompenses the proud doer.

(Psalm 31:23)

  • Hate evil, you who love the Lord,
  • who preserves the souls of His godly ones;
  • He delivers them from the hand of the wicked

(Psalm 97:10).

Just in case you’ve forgotten, Jesus also echoed that same great standard of loving God in Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27. Real love is, for God is the all-consuming passion of faithful service to our Lord.

Leave it to the Holy Spirit through Paul to state the boldly obvious negative: If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed. The Lord has come! The Lord comes! (1 Corinthians 16:22) Consider for a moment the force of what Paul says there. Even as he pronounces a curse on those that do not love the Lord, he offers a double blessing that the Lord has already come and that He is coming again (the Aramaic term Paul uses translates to both meanings).

So, how’s your love? Are there difficult times? Certainly! Are there events that make you question your love? Things that make you question His love? We all face these challenges and it is worth remembering that Jesus did, too! But keeping the faith, truly loving the Lord our God and Savior means that we must also remember the whole story!

Yes, a parent of a six-month child with a cold that’s cutting teeth will certainly struggle. But we remind them, we remind ourselves of what love really means. And we keep on loving and caring for that child. We treasure the precious moments as they grow, even when they are a challenge to us. Why? Because that is love, real love!

Do you love the Lord? Are you aware of all He puts up with in our lives? And yet He goes on loving us, encouraging us, blessing us, patiently waiting for us to show our love for Him.

Do you love the Lord?

— Lester P. Bagley