Are You Sure You Love God?
by Dr. Henderson Ward
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People are apt to get confused over matters of the heart, like love for another person, because there are so many intangibles that come together to make love what it is. One of the mighty problems of love is that people can pretend that they love and yet act in a manner of utmost hate; to normal people this is contradictory. The man who is so in love with his wife kills her because he thought that she was about to leave him is a strong example of this inconsistency.
The reason human love is so full of contradictions is because people are essentially self-centred and interpret everything from their perspective. The man just mentioned could so easily and properly have done the right thing if he just for a moment put himself in the shoes of his wife. What about, "I'm so sorry I made you unhappy, I hope you find some happiness elsewhere." Or the more urbane, "Take care of yourself, you are a good woman and you deserve to be happy." The reason violence happens here is because the husband thinks about himself only and his thoughts are like:
My friends will laugh at ME
What will my colleagues think of ME?
How will I face my relatives?
What will my neighbours say about ME?
How can I show my face at such and such a place?
People will see ME as a failure
She deserves death for letting ME down
All of these thoughts and many more are the result of egocentricity.
Believers loving God have no contradictions because this God-designed process allows no confusion or uncertainty. Because it is a God-designed process it is characterised by clarity, as all God-designed process are, and believers are committed to it with assurance. The Bible says this: "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." (1 Corinthians 14:33)
To become a Christian one has to enter the process, God-designed and God-sustained, and this process does some remarkable things that are evident in every true believer:
It purges the heart and takes away all sin
The very first thing the process does to bring us into a right relationship with God is that the full and undiluted power of the blood of Jesus Christ is applied by faith to our hearts and it washes away all sin, all defilement and cleanses us completely and rigorously.
There can be no relationship with God without this efficacious process completing its work. True believers have gone through this process and are sanctified, redeemed and have good standing, i.e. fellowship and communion with God. The Bible tells us this and we believe it with all our heart and rejoice in these scriptural confirmations:
"Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." (Psalm 51:7)
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (I John 1:7)
"Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." (Hebrews 1:3)
It replaces egocentricity with God-centeredness
We know that the failure by our fore parents in the Garden of Eden was based on egocentricity. Sadly Eve fell into this trap when, as the Bible puts it, "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." (Genesis 3:6) The same thing is true today for egocentricity always end in spiritual and moral failure, so the God-designed and God-sustained process replaces self with God. True believers are no longer self-centred but God-centred and so what God wants is what we seek, what God wills is our preference and in this way we follow and become like Jesus:
"And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Matthew 26:39)
"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." (Luke 9:23)
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)
It gives complete clarity to our standing with God
Believers who are washed from their sins, are in communion and fellowship with God, have been subjected to the Holy Spirit doing the amazing work of grace by rooting out self and replacing it with God can be in doubt as to his standing and love for God.
The beloved John, now an old man and residing in Ephesus wrote this to reassure Christians:
"And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him." (1 John 2:3-5)
Notice carefully that John here wrote so that believers everywhere can have full assurance that their love for God is flawless and sure, and the following phrases are most telling:
"...And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full." (1 John 1:4) Meaning that your spiritual, moral and temporal life will lack nothing and be fulsome and happy. Adam Clarke in his Bible Commentary commented on this verse like this, "Ye have already tasted that the Lord is good; but I am now going to show you the height of your Christian calling, that your happiness may be complete, being thoroughly cleansed from all sin, and filled with the fullness of God."
"...My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1 John 2:1) Meaning when we are clear as to the will of God, and we walk in accordance with his commands, then we avoid sinning and for any mishaps along the way we can find the answer in Jesus our Lord.
"...And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.." (1 John 5:20) This is what it's all about, the truth and nothing but the truth so that we are sure of our love for God and our where we stand in him.
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