Today, I was reminded of Jesus’ question to Peter three times, “Do you love me?”
Hmmmm … Honestly, it felt like I was being asked by our Lord Jesus and my response was, “Lord, teach me how to love You MORE!” 😀😀😀
It has always been the first commandment to LOVE the Lord our God with all our hearts and with all our souls and with all our strength.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
Jesus was asked by one of the experts of the law,
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
More often than not, we always think that the measure of our love for God is how much we do for Him. Or maybe how we love our neighbor. It may be true to some extent which could be derived from the scripture, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40) But what does it really mean to love Him? How do we do it?
We all know that the kind of love that we have been programmed to express is not of the same kind as His AGAPE love. We have been accustomed to defining love as “feelings”. But, as we journey in this love walk we have with Jesus, a redefinition for the word love is an utmost necessity.
Agape love is God’s divine love for His people. It is selfless, sacrificial and unconditional. It is the highest of the four types of love described in the bible. It defines God’s immeasurable, incomparable, unfailing, unending and relentless love for you and me. It is not based on what we do or have done, but it is purely based on WHO HE IS.
Truly, agape love can never be done without us being humble enough to acknowledge that God is the Source. HE IS LOVE and only when we open our hearts to receive Jesus in our hearts will we experientially walk in it. Jesus is love personified.
“For God SO LOVED the world that He GAVE His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
When Jesus becomes our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit abides in us and it is He Who pours out in our hearts the love of God. (Romans 5:5) Our love for Jesus is a response of what He has deposited in us first. We can never give what we do not first received. “We love because HE FIRST LOVED US.” (1 John 4:19)
Remember the woman with an alabastar flask of fragrant oil?
“And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.” (Luke 7:37-39)
It was an uncomfortable scene for the Pharisees knowing that the woman is a sinner touching Jesus. But Jesus had a heavenly perspective and spoke to Simon.
“There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”
Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”
And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:41-48)
Learning from this passage, when we come to know how much the Lord has forgiven us from all our unrighteousness and made us righteous by the power of His Blood, it touches our hearts in a deep and powerful way. It is His goodness, love, mercy and grace that changes our perspective of how deeply loved we are where we get to respond in obedience to obey all that He says. “If you love Me you will obey me.” (John 14:15)
From this position of being loved, it changes and rearranges our priorities. When relationship is born, it is but inevitable to long to be with the One we love.
One of the ways to cultivate our love for Jesus is when we spend time alone with Him in the secret place. It is a setting where only two seats are found. It is when we commune intimately with the One we love most, where a two-way communication is a norm.
You see, when we love a person, the utmost thing we desire to do is to be with that person. We can’t wait to be with the one we love. If it is not possible, we call, we text, we do every possible way to communicate. We pursue, we make time, we set dates and places that are quiet, conducive to intimate conversations. Hmmmm …
Don’t you think HE would desire that, too?
I love the first question Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me MORE THAN THESE?” (John 21:15) Which one was Jesus referring to as something that can be of more importance to Peter? Could it be “fishing” because he is a fisherman of great caliber?
Peter answered, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” (John 21:15)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for unconditionally loving me. Thank You, Jesus, for demonstrating how much loved I am by giving up Your life for me that I may have life and have it more abundantly. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for pouring out Daddy God’s love in my heart and unveiling my eyes to experientially walk in it. Teach me to love the Lord with ALL my heart, my mind, my soul and my strength in the Mighty Name of Jesus. Amen!