In these contemporary times, there is a tendency in Christian circles to say, “I love Jesus,” without understanding what that phrase means. It is sometimes superficial and “hyped up” with an emotional high of group excitement. What does it really mean to love Jesus? Do you want to love Him?
One critical, indispensable step is imperative first:
Before you can love Jesus, you must trust Jesus as your personal Savior from sin and hell. Otherwise, saying, “I love Jesus,” is not much different than saying, “I love Coca-Cola,” or “I love some popular singer.” Do you have the assurance of heaven based on Jesus’ sacrifice for your sin? Salvation is not based on your goodness or any good works you do. It is by grace through faith alone. (Ephesians 2:8,9). Has there been a time in your life when you realized you were a sinner? You understood that Jesus died and rose again to pay for your sins. You asked Him to forgive you and save you. If you have taken this first step, you have established a relationship with Him and are ready to love Jesus.
You say, “I love Jesus?” But do you truthfully love Him?
Peter proclaimed loudly to Jesus, “If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise.” The gospel of Mark then adds this comment, “Likewise also said they all.” (Mark 14:31). Yet, after Jesus’ arrest, “they all forsook him, and fled.” (Mark 14:50). And within about a day, Peter denied three times that he was even a disciple of Jesus. (John 18:17, 25-27).
After Jesus’ resurrection, He met with some of the disciples on the shore of Tiberias/Galilee (John 21:1, John 6:1). Jesus performed a miracle, enabling them to catch a multitude of fish. But he had already prepared a fish fry for them. After they had eaten, Jesus took a walk with Peter and asked him three times, “Lovest thou me?” Each time Peter answered yes, Jesus responded once with “Feed my lambs” and twice with “Feed my sheep.” Then Jesus informed Peter that he would one day die on a cross, like Jesus, because he loved Jesus. Peter’s duty was to follow Jesus. (John 21:15-19).
Loving Jesus costs.
According to traditional reports, every one of Jesus’ apostles, except John, suffered martyrdom. John suffered severe persecution but survived to write the Book of Revelation. Stephen was stoned to death. Paul was beheaded.
There are countless Christian martyr stories throughout church history. Estimates of the number of martyrs during the “Dark Ages” (about 1,200 years) range as high as fifty million. There have been thousands of Christian martyrs in the 21st century.
Loving Jesus is more than wearing Christian jewelry or T-shirts, posting Christian slogans or articles on Facebook, attending church regularly, or raising your hands in praise worship. It is more than just repeating, “I love Jesus.” These actions may be good, but they do not prove that you love Jesus.
We are not the originators of love. God is. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation (satisfies the justice of God against sin) for our sins.” (1 John 4:10). “We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19). Because He first loved us, He knows what we need to do to express love for Him.
Jesus expressed the requirements for love in John 14:15, 21,23. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me:” “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him.”
Loving Jesus is an all-consuming, passionate, 24/7 love for Him that dominates our thoughts and activities. It expresses itself outwardly in our day-to-day behavior and actions. It is a daily demonstration of obedience to Jesus.
To know his commandments, we have to read and study His Word. Then comes obedience. We demonstrate our love for Jesus by obedience to His Word.
Do you love Jesus?