In my role as a pastor, specific to marriage counseling, husbands and wives have frequently expressed they don’t feel loved by their spouse. We have discovered many facets to why they feel unloved, but what is typically at the center of the issue is selfishness. One or both of the spouses think and respond to their personal needs but rarely consider the needs of the other. As we all generally understand, but often overlook, healthy relationships require the intentional action of both parties in the relationship to invest in the wellbeing of the other. Be careful, you may say you love your spouse but does your spouse agree?
Similarly, in interacting with people over the years concerning their spiritual health, many have outwardly expressed concern about whether Jesus loves them. Believe it or not the conversation is generally focused on Jesus and what He is or is not doing for them. But let me assure you that Jesus has demonstrated His love for all of us.
RO 5:6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Oddly enough however, I’ve rarely heard Christians express concern about whether or not they personally love Jesus. Seriously though, have you ever asked yourself, do I love Jesus? Be careful. You may assume you do but consider how Jesus feels about it.
So then, does it matter to you if Jesus feels loved by you? Really now. If it does matter, isn’t it critical to know what Jesus said about how to love Him? Let me ask the question another way. Are you meeting the standard set by Jesus for loving Him? So let’s examine what Jesus said about the subject of loving Him. It’s short and to the point. JN 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” In other words, loving Jesus is obeying Jesus.
Since Jesus feels loved when you obey Him, are you? Yes. That’s right. Are you obeying Him? Let’s pause to remember that a healthy relationship takes two engaged people unselfishly focused on the needs of the other. What has Jesus done for the relationship? He has already given His life sacrificially to pay the penalty for our sins and He promises us eternal life without condemnation if we place our faith in Him as our Savior and Lord. There is more, much more, but I’m confident that you get the point. So what more can we ask for? But remember, that’s just Jesus’ part. What about ours? Now let’s look into our own hearts. Let’s ask ourselves, am I showing my love for Jesus by obeying His commands? Let’s examine a few common verses on the topic as a guide.
MT 22:36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
JN 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
MT 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
LK 9:23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
Unlike a spouse, Jesus doesn’t have any needs. You can’t possibly add or subtract anything from Him. He is complete and perfect in every way. The biblical understanding of loving another person, including our spouse, requires us to unconditionally meet that specific person’s needs. In contrast, as we’ve established, Jesus doesn’t have any needs but loving Jesus requires us to obey His commands. After all, Jesus is LORD. Hence, as disciples of Jesus, we abide in Him by spending time in Bible reading, study, meditation and memorization along with prayer and worship to get to know Him personally and intimately and then we respond by doing what He says. Why? Yes. Because we love Him. After all, it’s a privilege and honor to join Jesus in His work.
A Work in Progress,