by Alok Sonawane
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"Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul and with all thy strength."
Do you love God? If yes, why do you love God?
The Bible commands us to Love God. But is it really possible to love someone just because you have been commanded to do so? Is it humanly possible?
Suppose you were Commanded to love a person you do not even know, aperson who seems so distant and so different from you. Would you love him/her? Sure, you maybehave like you love that person, you may speak well of him/her and even do good things for that person. But is that all love is? In fact, you may sincerely believe that you love that person.
Today, so many relationships are being destroyed because we have forgotten what true love is, because we have forgotten how to to love. Relationships between friends, between brothers and sisters, relationships between parents and children and very importantly, the relationship between a husband and a wife. All these relationships suffer because of the lack of love. This may sound strange, but the most important relationship that suffers due to lack of love is our relationship with God. It is indeed strange that there should be any lack of love in our relationship with God who Himself is Love. But this is often true.
God loves us. Of this we can be sure. But do we love God? A wise priest once said, "There are mainly two kinds of christians in this world. One kind is those who sincerely love God and the other is those who just as sincerely believe that they love God."
Examine yourself and see, do you love God? If you say that you love God, then ask yourself, why do you love God? Many of us may have a ready answer for this: "Because He loved us first". After all that's what the Bible says!
But I ask you again.Why do you love God? Be honest. Is it not because of all that He has done for you? He has taken all our sin on Himself and taken all the punishment that we deserved and has set us free. He has prepared mansions for us in heaven, so that we may be with him for eternity. He has triumphed over the evil one. And surely, He has done wonderful things in your life.
Is this not the reason that you love God? That is a good enough reason. But is it the only reason for the love that you have for God?
Suppose that God had never come down in human flesh and never taken your punishment on Himself. Would you still love Him? Now, let your imagination run and at the risk of sounding blasphemous, suppose that Jesus had never won the victory, but had instead been defeated. Would you stil love Him? I'm especially speaking to you who have been "in the LORD" since a long time. Would you still love Jesus if tomorrow you found out that Jesus were not victorious.
It is good to love and worship the Lord Jesus Christ because of His victory and His power and provision. But if after being in His presence and experiencing His love and power for quite some time, that is the only reason we love God, then something is terribly wrong. It implies that we have not even begun to know God.
A man may fall in love with a woman because of her good looks and a woman may fall in love with a man because of his strength or his intellect. But if these are the only reasons that they love each other, then the relationship is bound to collapse as they grow old and the woman loses her looks and the man loses his strength and passes into dotage. This is because neither of them has bothered to know the other person and so enrich their relationship.
It is the same with our relationship with our Lord. If we love Him only for His love and power, then we are bound to fall in times of trial and testing when He seems so far away and so uncaring. If we love Him only for His forgiveness then we will fall when we reap the fruits of our wrong sowing even though He has forgiven us.
Our Lord Jesus has won the victory. Of this there can be no doubt. But if this is the only reason we love Him, then we are more like God's customers than His lovers. The symbolism, though crude is often true. Is this not how we treat God so many times?
It is good to love the Lord for all the things that have been mentioned. They are reason enough in the beginning. But if after months, even years of being "in the LORD", they are our only reasons then we are like the man who loved his wife only for her looks and ignored the beautiful complete person that she was. If on the last day the Lord says to us, "I never knew you", would it not be because we have never bothered to know Him?
Maybe we just do not know what it means to love. The disciples said, "Lord, teach us to pray". May we not cry out, "Lord, teach us to love!"? After all the Person who is Love has loved us with a love that is true and unconditional. Yes, He expects some things of us. But even if we fail Him a billion times, His love for us is undiminished. His love knows no reason. With all our faults and weaknesses, He loves us for what we are.
The Magdalene loved Him before she was forgiven by Him and was there by the cross and at His tomb when He died. While the apostles who expected favours from the Messiah deserted Him when He needed them most.
Only if we take the trouble to know Him more will we able to love the Lord as He loves us, with a love that is true, never failing and unconditional. Then our relationship with Him will be as it is supposed to be.
Once that Relationship is right, all our other relationships will fall into place.
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