Do you love Jesus Christ? Isn’t there a part of your heart that not only accepts the truth of Christ’s death for you but, in response, actually loves Him for the price He paid? Don’t you love His Word, even when it hurts; and don’t you appreciate the many times He’s rescued you, even from battles caused by your own sin?
For too many people, however, knowing Jesus is superficial; it goes no deeper than agreeing to the historical fact of His existence. Loving Him is a distant, almost unnatural reality for them. Some even take His name in vain or anger.
For you, however, the very sound of His name, Jesus, calms the troubling in your heart. You often cry at movies that reverentially mention His name. Even if you fall short of your own spiritual aspirations, still you love His righteousness.
The fact that you possess love for Christ, even if your love is imperfect, proves something vital about you. The very existence of your love has been cultivated and awakened by God’s love for you. The living Christ has actually approached you. You love Him because He has revealed Himself to you. As it is written, “We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
Christ, Our Source of Unity
Today, Christians argue about doctrines and divide over perceptions of end-time events. Yet, let us look at the deeper issue: Do we each love Jesus Christ? If so, our love for Him is the result of His love for us. Even if we disagree with one another on minor doctrines we should treat each other with reverence, for Christ has personally loved us.
You see, the proof that we truly know Jesus Christ is not measured by the degrees we post on a wall but by the degree of love for Him that burns in our hearts.
Do you not love Him? Your love is a response to the relentless warmth of God’s love for you, and His love has proven itself irresistible. He says, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). Again, He says, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44). Even our coming to Him is a product of His love for us.
When I say, “I love You, Jesus,” it is because at some point long before I knew Him, before I could discern His voice or recognize His influence in my life, a power born of His love was drawing me to Him. Yes, I know I am not worthy, but still Christ loved me. True, I have no righteousness of my own, but I imagine there was a moment in Heaven when the Son turned to the heavenly Father and said, “I love Francis. I will bring him to Myself, show him My ways, and become the strength of his life.”
Behold How He Loves Us
Our capacity to actually dwell in Christ’s presence is based upon knowing the true nature of God. If we see Him as a loving Father, we will draw near; if He seems to be a harsh judge, we will withdraw. Indeed, everything that defines us is influenced by our perception of God.
If we do not believe God cares about us, we will be overly focused on caring for ourselves. If we feel insignificant or ignored by Him, we will exhaust ourselves seeking significance from others. Once we accept the profound truth that God loves us, that He desires we draw near to Him, a door opens before us into His heart. Here, in the shelter of the Most High, we can find rest and renewed power for our souls.
Our Lord is not distant from us, for He is actually “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Heb. 4:15 KJV). He feels the pain of what we experience on earth. He participates in the life we live, for “in Him we live, and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28 KJV). He is not removed from our need; we are His body.
The truth is, we are never alone in our battles. However, if we believe we are alone – if we accept the lie that God does not care – our darkened thinking will isolate us from the eternal commitment of our heavenly Father. Beloved, even in our times of sin or rebellion, the heart of God is not far. Consider the Lord’s relationship with Israel. Though Israel had sinned and was suffering oppressive consequences, we read that, when the Lord “could bear the misery of Israel no longer,” He raised up deliverers (Judg. 10:16; Neh. 9:27). God wasn’t distant; He was with them, actually bearing them and their misery!
At Lazarus’ tomb, the Bible tells us that Jesus wept. Of course, Jesus knew He was going to raise Lazarus; He knew it six days before He raised Lazarus from death. He wept because those He loved were weeping. The Spirit of God feels our heartache. He is with us in our conflicts and fears. At the tomb of Lazarus, some suggest that Christ’s weeping was actually over the unbelief of His disciples. I think not. When the Lord wept over Lazarus, those who saw Christ saw a man touched by the sorrows of others, and they marveled, “See how He loved him!” (John 11:36).
Our healing comes when we behold how He loves us. We are raised from the dead when He comes to the tomb of our spiritual failures and pain (Eph. 2:4-5). He calls us out of death by name.
You see, we must accept the personalization of God’s love. He gave His Son for my sins, He enlivens His Word for my guidance, and His Spirit is with me as my helper. If the Almighty is for me, who can be against me?
Never wonder if God loves you. Rather, look at your heart. Do you love Him? If so, your love for Him is proof of His love for you. We love because He first loved us.
Dear friend, with wide-eyed wonder, let us behold how He loves us, and be healed of our aloneness.
Heavenly Father, help us to pause, to absorb into our consciousness the impact of Your purposed love for us. Let this wondrous love influence everything we think and all that we do and become: I am my Beloved’s and He is mine. Your banner over me is love. Let my life be flavored by Your unfailing mercy until, with all my heart, I love You, even as You have loved me.