Today, the more popular use of “I love…” ends with an activity, a food, some song, movie or personality. It would be stunning to hear someone actually say, “I love God with all my heart and with all my soul.”
How about us – those of us who have responded to the calling of God? God is surely finding out the answer by how we live our lives – day in and day out.
It was revealed to Israel that in order for them to have God engaged in their lives, they must love Him unconditionally. In Deuteronomy 13, verse 3, Moses records that Israel would be tested concerning the depth of their commitment and love for God.
Paul sums up that time period with these words, “But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.” (1 Corinthians 10:5).
How about most of us?
Jesus Christ gives us the answer. In John 14:21, ” ‘He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.’ ” Also, continuing in verse 24, ” ‘He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.’ “
It is really the “love OF God”, that is, God’s very love in us, that enables us to keep the commandments (1 John 5:3). In other words, although it is important that we have love towards God and His word, that alone is not enough. Rather, it is God-through His Holy Spirit – Who places His love within us (Romans 5:5). So, the key is to let God’s love in us operate and guide our lives.
In the Book of Revelation, in chapters two and three, Jesus speaks to the generations of believers who were to make up the church of God. In their times of testing, the core issue that remains is that of truly loving God.
Of the many trials to be overcome were things such as false doctrines and false teachers, immorality and personal sins, a lack of fervency and a self-satisfied sense of complacency.
To the first church, the church represented as Ephesus, Jesus has this grave and fateful admonition: ” ‘Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your FIRST LOVE.’ ” (Revelation 2:4). Continuing, the solution given is to “remember,” to “repent,” and to “do the first works” (verse 5).
But that cautionary advice from Jesus Christ is not just for that time. To all seven churches, He says the following: ” ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ “
If we are to love God with all our heart and all our soul – which is the state of first love – then, we, too, must awaken to “remember,” to “repent,” and to “do the first works!”