"He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."
We are all familiar with the Bible verse that tells us "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." These are the commandments that I believe Jesus is talking about in today's featured Scripture. But do you, like me, question that you are accomplishing that? What does that kind of radical love look like? Feel like?
I have to admit that I struggle with knowing if I am loving Jesus as much as He is worthy of being loved. I am well aware of the four types of Love in the Bible: Eros, which is the physical, sensual love between a husband and wife; Philia, which means close friendship or brotherly love; Storge, which is family love, the bond among mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers; and Agape, which is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love, the highest of the four types of love in the Bible, and the one which Jesus exhibited by dying on the Cross for the sins of the world.
Obviously, I recognize that I don't have a sexual love for Jesus; and my love is much more than the love I feel for close friends; nor is it the same feelings I have for members of my family. I know that it is Agape love that must take hold of my heart, permeate to the core of my soul, never be abandoned in moments of sinful weakness, and be at the forefront of all my thoughts, deeds and words. But when I say "I love you, Jesus", is that exemplified in my life? Am I truly living out the selflessness, the sacrifice, and the unconditional love that my statement is supposed to represent?
I am all too aware of how far short I fall from the standard He has set, and how the desire to love in His manner is just not enough. It's simply not enough to know the commandments; I must keep them, which means doing them! I want to be loved by God and His Son! I want to rest in and be filled with their love! I want it to be at the center of every minute of my life, and I want to have confidence that when I say I love Him, I will feel no shame -- that I deserve to make that claim and that I do not diminish what it means to Him.
I guess at the center of this matter is the fact that my God (who is present in the person of Jesus) is SO big, that how can I possibly love Him enough? I know that He gave His Son, Jesus, so that through faith in Him, I could have a personal relationship with my Father in Heaven. But that kind of love is unfathomable. And they both loved me that much! It is such an overwhelming thought to me, a sinner. My love, in return, seems so inadequate. But until my dying breath I hope to show Them that Their sacrifice was not in vain; and that I will one day achieve the level of love that They have so graciously bestowed on me. Thank you, Father, for continuing to love me while I work towards that goal.