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June 24 – Psalm 119

Click here to read Psalm 119 on BibleGateway.com

loveWhat is love, what does it have to do with it?

Love is a difficult word for us as English speakers. Other languages, Greek for example, have multiple words for love. So, if you “love” soccer, if you “love” your pizza, if you “love” your wife, there’s no confusion about which you want to snuggle with and which you want covered in pepperoni’s. At least let’s hope not.

Love is a theme that runs throughout the whole Bible, almost more than any other theme (almost). The question is, what does the Bible mean when it talks about love? God loves us, we love God, Isaac loved Rebekah, the early Church loved each other. Clearly these are not all the same, but they are all the same words in English. So, since we can’t read them all in one day (that’s just craziness), let’s look at one; how do we love God?

LOVE IN-INDESCRIBABLE

What does it mean to love God? Is it to think about God a lot, to keep him in the front of your mind, the way you might for your significant other? Is it to prefer him over other gods, the way you might love football more than baseball? Is it to think of God the first thing in the morning, like a cappuccino or a hot tea?

Fortunately, in this case, God is nice enough to clarify for us what loving Him looks like: “You are my portion, Lord; I have promised to obey your words…You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.” In Psalm 119 (the longest chapter in the Bible, so you know it must be awesome) we are reminded constantly that the truth of love is found in God’s law. To love God, we must obey His commandments.

NOT TO ABOLISH, BUT TO FULFILL

Oh, here it comes now: “We are no longer under the law, because of Jesus.” How we love to throw this out; it’s so freeing. I can do what I want, because Jesus loves me. So what does Jesus say about love? “Let’s just hang out and love each other; forget that law stuff.” Fraid not, my friends. In fact, Jesus sounds an awful lot like that mean ole God in the Old Testament: “If you love me, keep My commands…anyone who loves Me will obey.” (John 14) and “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” (I John 5)

There’s no getting around it; if you want to love Jesus, you have to obey his commands. Yes Jesus forgives, yes God is love and has made a way for us, yes the old things have passed away. But let’s not forget that Jesus didn’t just come to be our buddy, he is also our Lord.  Let’s not ignore what Jesus says fairly plainly; if we don’t obey his commands, if we do what we want and rely on his love to forgive us, then we really aren’t loving Him at all. We are only loving ourselves, and using Him.

Is that the kind of love you would want?

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