|This I know, but should I know more?|
I remember as a child going down in the basement in the old First Christian Church building in Murphysboro for Junior Worship and singing favorites like, I'm In The Lord's Army, Only a Boy Named David and Deep and Wide. Each had their own unique motions we all acted out with as much enthusiasm as we could muster. Pantomiming riding horses, flying planes, shooting guns and falling down like a giant Goliath hit on the head with a stone were all part of the fun. Keep in mind this is in the 60's, a time when acting like shooting a gun or violently getting hit on the head with a rock were socially acceptable.
But all of the fun would turn to a serious tone when we would sing Jesus Loves Me. No exaggerated acting, no falling down, no hand motions, just the song. It was important to understand, even as a child that there was an unconditional love that Jesus had for us. This song is paired flawlessly with the one verse that we were required to memorize. Say it with me, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (KJV John 3:16). God's love for us was ingrained in our minds and hearts from a very young age.
I appreciate the knowledge that was poured in me about God's love, but as I have matured I realize that God's love is not enough. Because God's love is unconditional, not earned and He loves everyone regardless of circumstance, we in terms of God's love are equals with all of mankind. In other words, God sent His Son to die for all, because he loves us all. This means the worst of the worst to the best of the best, Charles Manson to Billy Graham. This love is something the world shares. "For God so loved the world."
Ultimately what sets us a part is not His love for us, but our love for Him. We all know the "greatest commandment" is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." But what does that look like in practice?
I know in my life that love comes with sacrifice, willingly giving up part of me for the ones we love. I know my wife loves me, not because she says it, which she does, but because she cooks my eggs just right, she listens to my rants no matter how silly, she holds my hand and she gives up her desires in deference to mine and I demonstrate my love in the same way. As a small example, until I learned how much cream to add to her coffee, I would pour two cups, one for her and one for me. I would then add a different level of cream to each and I would give her the choice. I'm glad I figured it out. I like my coffee black.
The coffee is just a small example of our love, but our love is demonstrated in the big things too. Listening to each other and giving up part of us to show our love for the other. We are not perfect in our love, but I know there is an honest effort on her part to sacrifice for me and I for her.
So how do we show our love for God? It is the same. What are we willing to give up to show that we are set a part for God and love him? Are we willing to wake up early to read His word, join a Bible study or engage in a ministry? Are we willing to connect with His family at church on Sundays? Do we still have remnants of the sinful nature we need to get rid of? Let's be blunt, do you love your sin more than you love Jesus? What are you willing to give up for the love of God? Be honest truly examine your heart. Yes, Jesus loves you. How much do you love him?