What is love?
Does the love we feel for Christ feel the same as what we feel toward our best friend? If it is true, what do we experience? Is it passion or contentment?
I first accepted Christ and was baptized when I was about twelve because a minister preached a convincing sermon and did an alter call. It did not change my life dramatically but it did help me to relate to God and acknowledge that He exists and recognize He has a part in my life; but I pretty much lived a life of my own, not calling on Christ for direction. I really could have used His advice many times to keep me from the many errors I committed over the next several years. Fortunately He did not give up on me and kept me from serious harm through my rebellious years. It was not until about fourteen years later that I studied and learned of what our actual relationship with Christ should be that I truly chose to follow Him. I was re-baptized and attempted to obey His law in all respects for over 45 years. But I still was trying to do it on my own while claiming His name and masquerading as a Christian.
Only recently have I come to realize that my love for Him has been hollow, self-serving and fruitless. I have been trying to earn my salvation by pretending to be in love with God and Jesus without ever allowing the Holy Spirit to have dominion in my heart.
Love for Christ is not a hot passion like we feel toward our lover because it is not lust. My love for Him comes from faith grown from knowledge acquired by study. It is heart-felt by being established in my mind through a desire to please Him because of who He is and what He has done for me; so it stems from appreciation and grows through learning into acceptance of His gift. When I truly love Him with my whole being then I want to please Him, serve Him and share Him with all whom I meet.
When I fell in love with the woman who became my wife, I was not ashamed of her. I told everyone about her, thought of her day and night, wanted to be with her when we were separated. I would do anything to please her, to solidify her appreciation of me. Yes, it was initially fueled by lust; that is created in all of us by God to aid in the continuation of mankind on the earth. But it was more than that; it was a desire to be by her side sharing every activity with her, experiencing life together, and helping each other over the rough times, celebrating the good times. We are blessed to still have that after forty-nine years and we probably would not if we had not incorporated Jesus Christ into our marriage.
And that is how we should relate to Christ; desiring His presence, sharing every experience, trusting Him through the good and bad and sharing what we have with all whom we meet. He wants and deserves our whole being, our complete devotion, our undivided attention. We should experience joy in His presence when we fellowship with Him in prayer. Obeying Him should be with delight, not through a sense of duty or fear. Our greatest desire should be of being one with Him in all things, having unity of thought and actions, glorifying God in every aspect of our being.
And I have given them the glory which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as We are one, I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me.
keep yourselves in the love of God, eagerly awaiting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to everlasting life.