To Love Is Your Duty

February 28, 2015

                                                                                To Love Is Your Duty

Every normal thinking person wants to be loved. If we want love from others, we need to give it to them. Isn’t that logical? We can’t expect to it, if we aren’t willing to give it.

Our love should be first of all to God. Psalm 31:23 says, “O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.” Then our love to men should extend to our neighbor and even to our enemies. Matthew 5:43-44 says, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you”

There are some things that are hard to do. You may find that some of God’s commands are difficult to obey. There are other things we aren’t prepared to do. We can’t really love God unless we know him. We know God the Father by knowing his Son. John 14:7-9 says, “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.  Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” The more we know Christ, the more we love him. If we have a genuine love for Jesus, we will love God because he is God. I John 4:10 says, “We love him, because he first loved us.”

The more we know of God and his great love for us, the more wicked we are for not loving him. It is ingratitude to spurn love of such magnitude. God is justified in condemning those who reject him and Jesus sacrifice on the cross. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Those who put their faith in Christ and accept his sacrifice in payment for their sins are made children of God, with all that is included in that. John 1:12 says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” You are invited to come. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

We have much reason for loving God. He has made provision for us for today, tomorrow, and on into the future for all eternity. No one else has ever done that for us. They couldn’t do it if they wanted to. How much should we love God? Mark 12:30 tells us. “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” I invite you to think with me for a few moments about what is included in that verse.

First, it says we should love God with all our heart. Our heart is the center of our affections. It is that inaudible voice within us that says, “I want to reach out and show affection to that one.” If we love God, we want to please him. Love for God purifies our life. If we know something isn’t pleasing to God, we don’t want to do it. If we love God, we want to give him the place of preeminence that he deserves. We can’t help but do what Colossians 3:2 says. “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”

Jesus said also that we should love God with all our soul. Our soul is the center of our being. Our soul lives in our body, but it goes on living when the body dies. If you have doubts about that, read what Revelation 6:9 says. “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.” Matthew 16:26 asks the question, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” To love God with all our soul is to include him in all of our life.

Then Jesus said we are to love God with all our mind. That means he should be included in our thought life. As we give consideration to the things of life, we should ask ourselves “What does God say about that?” If God is in our thoughts, we will seek his will when we make decisions. The more we know God, the more we think like he thinks. I Corinthians 2:16 says we can have the mind of Christ. “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” The mistakes we make in life are made because we don’t think right. We avoid making mistakes to the extent that we think like God thinks. We need to take heed to II Corinthians 10:5. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

Lastly, Jesus says we should love God with all our strength. That includes more than just the physical strength we have. It includes also that which is within our capacity. It includes our influence. It also includes the talents we have. We don’t all have the same talents. Our love for God should motivate us to use our talents, our influence, and our strength to the fullest extent to glorify him. None of us live up to Mark 12:30, but it should be our goal in life.

Two maxims of Jesus were:

“Give and it shall be given unto you” (Luke 6:38).

“All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12).

Yes, to love is our duty, but obedience, done out of love, is neither grievous nor burdensome.     I John 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” Jesus said “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). The same is true regarding what we do for others. Love delivers us from slavery. Love enables us to carry out our duties in life with joy. Not only do we love what we do, but we also love those for whom we do it. That gives life meaning and purpose.

How is your love life? Please take that question in the context of this article. If your life has lost meaning and purpose, it’s an indication that your relationship with God and others isn’t what it should be. Give your heart to God and he will give it back to you overflowing.

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