What would you say is the most important part of a Christian’s life? Is it reading your Bible, praying, fellowshipping, ministry? All of these are of great importance, but the one thing that is at the top of the priority list is loving God. Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:37, “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.”
Love is one of those words we throw around lightly in all sorts of different ways. We love our kids, we love our homes, we love our Christian brothers and sisters, we love our country, etc. What motivates us to give up everything we have and even our own lives and our future to follow Jesus? LOVE!! If we are ever going to be the kind of Christian who influences our families, friends, and the world for the kingdom, we must have this kind of great love for Jesus, who is our God and Lord. Nothing else would motivate us to give up everything we have or hope to be and to go out into the world and be a witness for Him. If we love Him greatly we will sacrifice greatly. If not, we will sacrifice little.
God wants us to live a life of love and not of fear, dread, legalism, law, or works. God’s kind of love frees us up to do or not to do whatever He wants, but unless we have this strong love for Jesus, we will fail to be who He has in mind for us to be, and that is way more than we could ever hope or even think. Just think about it. Without love for Jesus we won’t worship Him, serve Him, live for Him, or sacrifice for Him. We will just go on living our lives at a level that is soooo far from what we could.
Peter denied Jesus three times, but in restoring Peter Jesus just asked him three questions: Do you love Me? Do you love Me? Do you love Me? To Jesus that was the most important thing in Peter’s life, love for Him. Did he love Jesus enough to walk away from his hopes and dreams and anything else getting in the way of loving Jesus? Do we? Is there anything in your life you are unwilling to let go of? What are you sacrificing for Christ? Jesus is the greatest example of sacrifice there ever was. God coming down from heaven to live as a poor man who suffered so many things and then died for us. Following Christ should be our highest priority and give us great contentment, but this will never happen unless we have a strong love for Jesus; not just a strong like but, I mean, a strong love!
In Revelation 2 Jesus tells the church at Ephesus He knows their works, labor, patience, and hate of evil, but then He states in spite of all this He has something against them. They lost their first love. But then He tells them to remember where they started and go back and do the first works, one of which was a strong love for Him. Look at our own life. How much do you love Jesus? How motivated are you to do the things He wants? If you are having trouble in this area, put your focus solely on Jesus. Think about all He has done for you, is doing now in heaven, and someday will do with you. Fall in love with Him again. He loves you soooo much and wants to have a very, very deep relationship with you, not a superficial one. “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and watch what happen to your life and those around you. It will be exciting!!
--By Joanne Chaffin