The simple answer is,”Yes! Well, I think so. Afterall, I have an ‘I love Jesus’ t-shirt, a bumper sticker that reads ‘My boss is a Jewish Carpenter’, and I never leave home without my Star of David with a cross in the middle. So I can say with 100% certainty, ‘I love God’, right? That’s love!”
It’s funny how we reinvent the wheel by defining well-established biblical meanings and then with the aid of our slogan templates, we feel completely justified in our thoughts and actions. We use slogans like, ‘Only God can judge me’, ‘God knows my heart’ and here’s a good one, ‘It’s the thought that counts.’ We have become so self-assured, we’ve reinvented the wheel to our shame and destruction and think God is honored.
To love a person is more than just to say the words, ‘I love you’ or an ‘I’m with her’ t-shirt, or a bumper sticker however cute, but love is expressed first through actions then with the use of words that agree with our actions.
Consider an abusive relationship you have witnessed or heard of and ask the question how many bumper stickers would it take to remove the victims’ pain. Or what gift will remove the shame and humiliation from a child of domestic violence? We all know talk is cheap. Saying love and truly loving doesn’t have different meanings with God and it shouldn’t have to different meanings to us.
Jesus was asked a question concerning the greatest commandment of God, it goes as follows…
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘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 mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31 NIV
Jesus did not redefine the meaning of a Commandment and he simply quoted God’s words back to him in His reply.
In the book of John, Jesus tells us what we must do to be apart of his love, and he tells us love is a series of events, not a one-hit wonder.
If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.
John 15:10-14 NIV
Regarding any type of abusive relationship, change is not monitored by gifts or words, it’s only measured by actions. The abusers can (and often will) in all sincerity with tears in their eyes say, ‘I won’t do that again!’ They will even say, ‘I’m sorry. I love you. I’ll do better. I’ll get help.’ But what do they do?
The abusers attempt to redefine love. But love is only defined by God. So many victims of abuse die at the hands of their so-called lover. Until the abused stop buying into the lies and false promises of the violator the abuse continues. God doesn’t buy into our lip service.
The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.
Isaiah 29:13 NIV
Jesus quoted the prophet Isaiah in Mathew 15:8-9.
We have created our definition of loving God and have become the abusers in our relationship with God. We will defy anyone who challenges our actions or lack thereof. We ‘know’ what it is to love God.
When we say we love God and don’t keep His commandments we are the abusive lover to our God. We are mistreating Him and taking his kindness for weakness, his patients for acceptance. God is not impressed by our witty slogans and well-designed graphics. God wants to be loved. And we must love Him based on His terms and conditions.
“Do I Love God?” is another way of asking “Do I Keep His Instructions?” That’s how we and other people know we love God. More importantly, God knows we love God.
Any expression of love that ignores God design for expressing love is reinventing the wheel. We make the way of salvation impossible not only for ourselves but for those who are watching us to find the Truth. Just like what Isaiah told the people we follow the man-made rules taught to us that we teach others.
It’s interesting to note the greatest and second greatest commandment are each seen in our interactions with the people. You can’t love God and hate the people he created.
Do you love God?