Comfort & Counsel

Home  Articles  Site map

Pointers along the way #167

How do we know we love God?
- Jacob Ninan

When we are moved with emotion as we join in worship, singing stirring songs and praying fervently, it is natural for us to think that everything is right between us and God. Especially if we mean what we say, and we know we are sincere in our desire to 'live for God' or to 'serve God', we think we know we love God. Certainly these are indications of our love for God.

If we come up to the level described above, we can say that we don't fall into the category of people who merely say things with their lips which they really don't mean in their hearts (Is.29:13). Our religion is not one of external rituals but something that has touched and changed our heart. We know God, we know His love for us, and we love God. And we are sincere in what we say in those songs and prayers. But is this enough to pass God's test?

Peter was also like this, when he made loud boasts about how he would never leave Jesus even if it meant death for himself (Mt.26:35). He meant what he said, he was sincere, and he said it out of love for Jesus. But he failed Jesus when the test came, and denied Him when he was put on the block.

One man who passed God's test was Abraham who was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac in order to obey God. It was then that God declared that He knew Abraham really loved Him (Ge.22:12). Actually the word God used here was 'fear' and not 'love'. God said that now He knew that Abraham feared Him. Abraham was not being fearful of God. It was the Old Testament way of saying that Abraham valued God so much that he was willing to lay down his son for Him. That is love, isn't it?

Jesus said that we ought to love Him more than our earthly 'loves' if that was to be counted as love for Him (Mt.10:37). He is so much more worthy than anyone else or anything else, that nothing less than a supreme love for Him can be counted as being real. And this kind of love is ultimately tested in our obedience to Him (Jn.14:21). When we have to obey Him, we have to make a choice between what He says and what we are tempted to do, and that is what demonstrates what or who we really love.

Jesus talked about us 'hating' our own life, as a mark of being His disciple (Lk.14:26). In the context of Mt.10:37 we can understand that this is another way of saying that our love for Him ought to be stronger than our love for our own life. What Jesus called 'our life' is more than our physical life. Every time we 'do our own thing', we live our own life. Isn't this the ultimate test of our love for God, when we have to choose between what God wants and what we want?

Where do we stand, when we look at love like this? We face this choice countless number of times in a day, ranging from small tests to big ones. I know we may fail at times. But when we know what love for God really means, let us not be satisfied with mere words, but learn to love God as He ought to be loved, in truth and in deed.