‘this is love, that we walk according to his commandments’ (2 John v 5 ESV)
Love is a word that many people use, and sometimes it is used flippantly, with some people using the word, and not thinking about what they are exactly saying.
When visiting another church one weekend, I heard a friend and Pastor preach, and he said the following;
‘When we use the word love, what does the word really mean? I love my wife and children, I really do, but I love ‘Double-Decker chocolate bars, (chocolate bar made by Cadbury)’.
You hear people saying that they love many things; they love football, they love curry, they love the television, they love certain pop stars etc. People also love other things like going out to the pub, or buying expensive designer clothes, but these are materialistic.
What many people mean is that they love a person, but when they say they ‘love football’ etc, what they really mean is that they like it a lot.
So, is it possible to love God and other things?
Jesus said that we cannot;
‘No one can serve two masters’ (Matthew 6:24 NIV).
We need to put God first in all that we do; the writer of Proverbs says this, ‘Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding’ (Proverbs 3:5 NIV). What this means is that we should learn to look to God in, and for all things; we need to trust him.
When Jesus was talking to some Pharisees, he said;
‘people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me’ (Matthew 15:8 NIV).
‘But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well’ (Matthew 6:33 NIV).
‘In everything you do, put God first’ (Proverbs 3:6 T.L.B.).
What these verses mean, is that we may glorify God with what we say, by the way we act does not give him glory.
Paul reminded the Roman Christians that they should not love the world;
‘Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God’ (Romans 12:2 Message).
Our culture can draw us in if we are not careful. It can be easy to let ourselves be pulled in, bit by bit and our lives could then spiral into worse situations; little lies one day could lead to stealing later on, or worse. We need to treat our life as a gift, which it is.
God knows us intimately, the Psalmist said, ‘I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body’ (Psalm 139:15-16 NIV).
Not only did God se us before we were born, he made us, and he has a plan for all of us (Jeremiah 29:11), and he has also promised that we will never be on our own;
‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5 NIV).
‘Placing Him first in your life should be your daily goal, the main pursuit in the midst of all your other pursuits’ (Paul Chappell).
We need to love God in all that we do, in all that we are, our actions, our words, our lives;
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength’ (Mark 12:30 NKJV).
‘Therefore… … do all to the glory of God’ (1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV).
There have been many hymns and songs written about God, and how we should love him and worship him first and foremost in our lives;
‘To God be the glory, great things he has done… … Praise the Lord, praise the Lord’ (Fanny J Crosby 1820-1915).
To God be the glory, great things He hath done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done.
O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.
Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our rapture, when Jesus we see.
Father God, we thank you for the love that you give us, and gave us, we thank you for your Son who came to die for us, to show us the way to you. Help us to see your love in all the days of our lives. Lord help us to show your love to the people around us that we work with, live with and socialise with. Lord everyone needs you; give us the strength to show your love, that others will also want to know you.