"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten so, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Most people who are familiar with the Bible probably know this verse. It is referenced on billboards and even displayed written on people's bodies at sporting events. It is doubtful that anyone who has heard of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. . . The heavenly Father who sent His only begotten Son to this earth . . . Has not heard of His love for mankind. So much has been written and preached about God's love for us, and yet, how often have we given ourselves time to dwell on how much WE love HIM?

     In English, the word "love" can cover any situation from "I LOVE chocolate", to "I LOVE my spouse", to "I LOVE Jesus", and anything in between. In the original language of the New Testament (Koine Greek), there were a number of words used that are translated "love" in English, but the highest form of "love" is Agape (sounds like 'uh-gaw-pay'). This is a selfless, ACTIVE, desire for another's best welfare. It is the giving up of one's own desires, wellbeing, or even LIFE, for the good of another.

     Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." So the question to us is; "Jesus loves me enough to die for me, do I love Him enough to LIVE for Him?" One of the easiest things in the world to do is to say "I love you", even to the God of heaven, but what becomes difficult is showing that love, or proving it is genuine!

     Jesus, preaching to His Jewish brethren, said, "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46) And again, to the apostles the night of his betrayal, he gave a condition for genuine love, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). The Apostle John reiterated this in his second letter, "And this is love that we walk after his commandment" (2 John 6).

     Is Jesus being unloving in requiring us to demonstrate our love for Him in obedience? NO, of course not! Hehas died for us! Entrance into heaven depends upon a penitent sinner contracting the saving blood of Jesus. And, if we love Him, He said we will obey him, so the reciprocal of that statement must also be true, "If we refuse to obey Him, we do not love Him".

     Now, does this mean in any way that our loving obedience to Jesus earns us a place in heaven? Absolutely NOT! Jesus told a parable, and concluded it with this instruction, "So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do'."

     Loving God on His terms does notmean that He owes us anything! Actually, the opposite is true. WE OWE HIM EVERYTHING!! Do I love Jesus? Then I should keep His commandments! I should obey His Gospel plan of salvation, sincerely (Romans 6:17), by Believing that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God who died on the cross for my sins, Repenting of all past sins (Acts 17:30), Confessing my faith in Jesus (Matthew 10:32 & Acts 8:37), and being Immersed into the death of Jesus (Romans 6:3), for the forgiveness of my sins (Acts 2:38 & 22:16), clothing myself in Him (Galatians 3:26-27). Then, when I come up out of the waters of baptism in Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17), I should continue to show my love for Him by walking in that new life (Romans 6:1-4), always faithful to Him (Revelation 2:10).

     The plea has not changed in almost two millennia; give our lives to Him in love and live for Him here, so that we may live with Him for eternity! Jesus loves me, but do I love Jesus?


Earl D. Reed

Cheyenne, OK