My mama passed from this world on October 21, 2003. I still remember my devastation and despair like it was yesterday. It impacted my life in so many ways that it is hard to put in words. She was my best friend, my shopping buddy, the one who went to the zoo with me before her health got too bad and a Grandma to my baby girls. She loved me and my girls beyond words, and it showed.
Mama’s passing was like a freezing cold glass of ice water was thrown right in my face. It made me think about my life in comparison to hers. I thought about how she loved God and I saw that love by her actions. Even after her passing, I saw that love. I found notes from her studies. I found letters she had written and Bible verses she would randomly write down.
So why didn’t I love God? Wait. What? I didn’t love God?!? I thought I did. I prayed regularly. I would even attend church with Mama on occasion. I remember thinking that I was a good person so surely, I would go to heaven. I was comfortable and happy with that thought. Until one day I wasn’t. Until one day I looked at my two beautiful daughters and decided I needed to know I was leading them to heaven. I needed to be certain. So, I went looking for the Lord’s church, the one found in the Bible, and I found her! This is when I determined it was past time for me to put God first and not self.
Let’s make this personal. Do you love God? Truly love Him? How do you know? Have you ever searched out Bible verses on love? The pages of the Bible are full of love. God loves us beyond our own comprehension and we are told of this over and over. But there is more…God loves us and we are to love God above all else. Above friends? Above my job that supports my family? Above my actual family? Above myself? Yes. Above ALL else.
Does this verse look familiar?
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
I would dare say that it does look familiar. This is a beautiful verse that gives my heart flutters and make it flip. I am in awe at how much God loves us. Complete and utter awe.
The problem is, so very many people read this verse and think that they are good to go. They see that God loves them and stop right there. They feel that their way to Heaven is set and secured and they have nothing else to do. They may even say, “I love God!” And proclaim it to those who will listen, but their actions say something else.
Does this verse look familiar?
Deuteronomy 6:5, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
What about this one?
Matthew 22:37-39, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.”
There’s that little “all” word. These verses are clear. We are to love God with ALL our heart, soul and might/mind. But what does that mean? How does God expect me to love Him? I know one thing it means…it means if we don’t know, we better find out.
How do we find out what it means? God has put it in black and white for us. He has given us everything we need to understand, we just have to take the time to study and to study, so as to understand. We need to take the time to read the Scriptures for ourselves. Our souls are so important that we should not ever rely on men to tell us what it takes to get to Heaven! No matter how warm and fuzzy that preacher makes you feel when he preaches on God’s love, it is up to YOU to find out your part in the equation. Because you do have one. Don’t ever let anyone tell you anything different.
Let’s start with John 14:21-23, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, LORD, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”
Many people say they love Christ. But do they really LOVE Christ? These verses are clear. We love Him when we know and keep His commandments. Wait. God has commandments? Yes. Well, how is one to know what God’s commandments are? By reading and studying His word.
Let’s continue reading in 1 John 2:15-17, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
Here we see that we are to do His will and we will abide forever. We are not to love the world. Hmm. That doesn’t mean we can’t take pleasure in things. I love to beat my husband at board games or card games. That makes me happy. This verse means that we are not to be of the world. We are to love God. We are to love Christ. We put that love above all.
I still remember when I realized that I was in sin and was not going straight to Heaven like I had thought. Talk about a freezing cold glass of ice water! Multiply that by a million. That’s how I felt once I realized I had been walking around day after day, living my life, doing what I wanted year after year and I was lost.
Multiply that by another million. That is how I felt when I looked at my daughters and understood their souls were lost because of me. Because of my influence, my selfishness. Because I had not been the example that God required me to be. Because I did not teach them about God. What it boiled down to, is… I did not have the love for God and for them, that I should have had. I lacked in my obedience to God. Christ set the ultimate example. Hebrews 5:8, “Though he were a Son, yet he learned obedience he the things which he suffered.“ Read on the the very next verse, “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”
In order for us to obey Him, we need to know what He requires of us. These requirements are revealed to us as we peruse the pages of the New Testament.
I heard the Word of God (Romans 10:17). I believed the Word of God (John 8:24). I repented of my sins (Luke 13:3). I confessed Christ as the Son of God (Romans 10:9-10). I was baptized for the remission of my sins (Acts 2:38). Even though I am in this world, I am not OF this world. I am trying my best to live faithfully unto death (Revelation 2:10). Am I trying to “work” myself to Heaven? Absolutely not! I am an unprofitable servant, I am only doing that which is my duty to do (Luke 17:10). Now I know where my love for Christ is. I know His love for me. God comes first. Above my family. Above my work. Above my sicknesses. Above my pains. Above ALL.
I will never say I am perfect or even close. I mess up. I struggle, I fail, I sometimes sin, but I know Who I can turn to. I know Who will be there for me, helping me get through. He is my Rock. He is there through the good and the bad, to lead me, to guide me, He loves me!
Now let us make this personal. Where is your love for Christ? Do you know? Do you think about Him daily? Do you set an example for your family? Your friends? Acquaintances? Do you turn to Him when things are bad? What about when things are good? Do you take the time to say thank you? To let Him know how much you appreciate and love Him? If not, now is a great time to start!
You can hear the Word of God (Romans 10:17). You can believe the Word of God (John 8:24). You can repent of your sins (Luke 13:3). You can confess Christ as the Son of God (Romans 10:91-10). You can be baptized for the remission of your sins (Acts 2:38). Then you can try your best to live faithfully unto death (Revelation 2:10).
I am living my best life. The Christian life. Are you ready to live your best life? I pray that you are and you will. Reach out to me if you have questions or would like further study. I will be more than happy to study with you.
In Christian Love,