February 6, 2011

Do I Love Jesus Enough – Ray Anderson

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

This is an interesting question, isn’t it? But you might ask, enough for what? Jesus spoke often about love and it is worth our examination.

Jesus said, “ If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) Do we love Jesus enough to keep his commandments? Often we are torn between our families, our jobs and our own desires. We have to keep all these in the proper perspective and set the right priorities. Jesus said, “He who loves father and mother more than me is not worthy of me. And he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37) This very clearly sets the priority for us. When we consider his love for us shown through his life, his teaching and his sacrifice on the cross, who could doubt his right to make such a declaration?

Actually, he is showing his concern for us. He knows that the love we have for our families can sometimes pull us away from what we know to be right. We have seen how an unbelieving relative can cause some to forsake the assembly at the appointed times, to compromise their belief in order to keep harmony in the family, or even worse, to fall away altogether. We need to keep Jesus first, then our families after that. However, we should not think that Jesus is minimizing our love for our families. He just wants us to love him more than them. The teaching of the Bible is clear that we need to love and care for our parents, love our spouses and love and care for our children. (Matthew 15:4, Ephesians 5:22-6:4)

Do we love Jesus enough to deny ourselves? Jesus said, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) Jesus is not saying that we should take a vow of poverty or deny ourselves the rich blessings that God provides for us in his creation. Rather he is saying that we should humble ourselves before him and set aside our pride. (Matthew 5:3-6) We should not allow ourselves to be drawn away by our own desires to sin (James 1:14-15), and we should not set ourselves up to be better than others in an arrogant way. (Philippians 2:3)

Do we love Jesus enough to love others in the same way we love ourselves? (Matthew 22:39) Jesus takes it to an even higher level when he said that we should love one another as he loved us. (John 15:12) What a sobering thought that is! One of the strongest urges we have is to take care of our own selves. The tendency toward selfishness is one that we all strive to control. We know what makes us happy, we know what we need for ourselves, and we know when we need it. To have the same care and concern for others takes time and effort. Most of us find it hard to love those who don’t much care for us or who are not much like us. We have learned that birds of a feather flock together. That’s an easy thing to do. Getting past what we see on the outside to see what God sees on the inside is the hard part. I’m sure you must have known someone who at first made you uncomfortable or uneasy. However, once you got to know them, you discovered that they were not so bad after all. It took some effort on your part and sometimes you had to take the first step. To do good things for others is something that is well pleasing to God. (Galatians 6:7-10)

Do we love Jesus enough to take the time to teach others? We are not supposed to keep the faith to ourselves, but to teach others. We sing a song with the words, “You never mentioned him to me.” What a sad lament that is. Have you passed up the opportunity to teach when others ask why it is that you don’t do some of the things they do? Have you missed a teachable moment when they ask why you are “always in church” or why you didn’t take the night off to watch the Super Bowl? We know that faith comes from hearing the word of God. (Romans 10:17) If we don’t teach, others cannot learn. We have an obligation to teach. (1 Timothy 2:2) One of the joys of teaching is watching others learn and mature. We start teaching the little ones with short bible stories and cute little songs. Their smiles, the sparkle in their eyes and laughter from their little hearts is reward enough for anyone. As they grow older and realize some of the things they do are not pleasing to God, their questions become more probing and deeper in substance. Finally, what joy there is when they make their commitment to follow Jesus and are baptized for remission of their sins. What a reward it is to know that you played a part! Teaching adults is just as rewarding. When someone comes to an understanding that their relationship with God needs repair, you rejoice with them as they confess Jesus as the only begotten son of God, their Lord and savior, and put him on in baptism.  What greater reward can their teacher have than this? Teaching is nothing more than sharing knowledge. Everyone can do that. Do you love Jesus enough to try?

Finally, do you love Jesus enough to be faithful the rest of your life? (Revelations 2:10) None of us lives a sinless life and we all need the encouragement of others to remain faithful. That is one of the values of assembling together to worship. (Hebrews 10:25) We also need to pray for forgiveness when we have sinned. As a child of God we have the confidence that he is able and willing to forgive us when we come to him with penitent hearts. (1 John 1:9) We also must realize that sin originates with us.(James 1:14-15) But, there is an escape from the temptation that leads us to sin in the first place. (1 Corinthians 10:13) The question is do we love Jesus enough to search for it, and having found it, use it.

Jesus loved us enough to be obedient to the will of his father, even to his death on the cross for the sin of mankind. Let us love him with all our heart, soul and mind by being obedient to his commandments and loving one another.———Amen

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