While on vacation this week, I've taken advantage of some extra time to read. Now granted, the stack of books that I'd like to read far outweighs my time to actually sit down and do it. But there is one book that has been calling my name: "The Most Loving Place in Town (Ken Blanchard/Phil Hodges) - A Modern Day Parable for the Church."
It's a real easy book to read and it has given me so much to think about. But tucked away in Chapter 7 was a question that has left my heart stirring: "How does God know you love Him?"
I think the author is so right. Often we focus on how we know God loves us. But if we take the time to turn the question around and be honest with ourselves and God, our answers might just shine some light on our journey with Him and what we may be seeking to do that has NOTHING to do with a genuine/authentic love relationship with God.
Some common answers might be, "I pray" or "I read my Bible" or "I go to church." We could even feel real good about ourselves and say, "I serve Him faithfully." Trust me, I've thought an awful lot about this question since I first read it. How does God know that I love Him ... really love Him? No doubt praying and reading your Bible and staying plugged into the local church will help you know Him more and help you grow in your faith journey ... but that still doesn't answer the question: How does God know you love Him?
The disciple John put ink to Christ's heart about this very thing in chapter 14, verse 15. Here is the answer, friends: "If you love me, you will obey what I command." I especially love The Message's translation: "If you love me, show it by doing what I've told you."
There are all kinds of ways that we can obey the Lord. As His child, He has given me His Word and the Holy Spirit to prompt me as I walk through this life. He wants me to obey Him in the big things ... and the little things. Lately, there's an area where He continues to hard press for my obedience and it revolves around forgiveness.
Forgiveness is a journey all by itself. It's not based on anything you feel. Just like love is a choice ... a decision, so is forgiveness. This has been an incredible year on the forgiveness road. Forgiving those who have hurt me or those I love. Just like Christ while on the Cross, I've had to ask God to forgive those who surely didn't have a clue as to what they were doing. And even if I thought they did know ... that was even more reason to forgive. Trust me when I say I've tried to go the other road and it just doesn't work. I can't walk close to the Lord and harbor unforgiveness in my heart. The two just don't mix.
Okay, back to the book. I don't want to spoil it for you in case you decide at some point to read it, but there is one more little saying that's a keeper: Forgiven much, love more.
One more concrete way for God to know that we love Him is by loving each other.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35)
Surely to goodness there is someone you need to forgive. And by forgiving them, you are free to love them. Not based on how you think or feel ... but based on His great love for you that frees you to love and forgive. It really is a beautiful thing. Not always easy and not without a risk.
But I continue to learn that with Christ, all things are possible ... especially forgiveness.
Think about it: How does God know you love Him?
Bring it on Summer
6 years ago