The Outward Life Begins With This Question: Do I Love God?

When we love God and we pursue his heart, we develop a heart that reflects his heart and we love those that God loves.

One of the indicators of a heart that loves God is a heart that loves the world that he so loved and gave his Son for. And so if I find myself not having a heart for those who are perishing and not actively sharing the Gospel with those who are perishing then I must ask the challenging question: do I love God?

When I ask that question I am not pointing fingers at others, I am pointing fingers at my own heart. Too often I have to ask, “God, why is my heart often cold or indifferent toward those who do not know you? God, why do I often not have an urgency to share the hope I have in you with my very neighbors in my neighborhood who are perishing?”

And I have to come to the convicting place of realizing that I have allowed my heart to become cold toward God. I can find myself with an intellectual relationship with God that is rooted in my mind but not a love relationship with God that flows from my heart. As Christians, we can study about God. We can do things in the name of God. And not actually pursue the heart of God. In Revelation chapter two, Jesus rebukes the church in Ephesus for doing things in the name of God while losing their love for God.

Revelation 2:2-3 Jesus said to the church in Ephesus, “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.”

Jesus is commending them for being people who persevered in guarding the truth in a pagan culture. The church was actively guarding against false teaching. They were working hard. They were enduring hardships. They were not giving up. This would not have been a passive church. This would have been a church that highly valued the teaching and preaching of the Word of God.

But then Jesus confronts them. Verse 4-5 says, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.

They had the truth of Christ but they did not have the love of Christ. They were enduring hardship to protect God’s truth but at some point had fallen out of love with the one who was Truth.

The reason why a church can proclaim biblical truth Sunday after Sunday and yet not see unbelievers turn from their sin and place their trust in Christ is because we can have the knowledge of God without the love of God – a love that compels us to sacrificially go into a world that is perishing.

This is why a Christian can sit under biblical teaching week after week and be in bible studies week after week and still have a heart that is cold to the world. We can love the truth of God and not love God.

This is why Jesus tells us the greatest commandment is to love God with all that we are – with our heart, mind, soul, strength. He is to be our first love.

When Jesus came into this world, he came into a Jewish culture that was influenced by God. Their customs and laws and traditions and history were shaped by God. The fingerprints of God could be seen in every aspect of who they were as Jews. But the problem was that many of the Jews no longer loved God. Their lives reflected the truth of God but not the love of God.

This is why Jesus says, “if you love me, you will obey my commandments.” He is not calling them into a greater life of duty and obligation. He is calling them into a life in which their hearts reflect the very heart of God.

When a husband loves his wife, he doesn’t just say, “I will provide for you, I will keep a roof over your head. I will mow the lawn. Clean the gutters. Change the oil in the cars. And I will know your birthday and your favorite food.”

No. When a husband loves his wife, it is not because he knows things about His wife and he does thing for his wife. When a husband loves his wife, he knows the heart of his wife. He wants to know what delights her, what makes her feel alive and what encourages her. He wants to know her hopes and her fears. He wants to intimately know this woman so that his heart will begin to reflect her heart.

When we love God, our heart becomes transformed to reflect the very heart of God.

And Scripture tells us that God so loved this world so much that he sacrificially gave his son for this world that they may have eternal life. Therefore, what should fill our heart? A love for this world so that we sacrificially give our lives so that those who are perishing may have eternal life.

If our heart is cold to those who do not know Christ, our first question should be: do I truly love God?

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