While there is definitely an emotional component to love, true love is not merely emotion. True love is also a decision. It is a deliberate act of the will. The Bible reveals some measuring sticks by which we can determine whether or not our love for God is as deep as it could be.
Our love for God is measured by how much we love each other. “But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 John 3:17). “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20). “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.” (1 John 5:1-2). One may proclaim loudly and proudly that he loves God, but if his actions toward other Christians do not show that he seeks their well-being, then he really doesn’t love God like he thinks he does.
Our love for God is measured by how much we hate sin. “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15). If we are totally captivated by the things of this world, then we really do not love God like we may think. The real measure, however, of how much we hate sin is not our disgust at the sins of others, but rather our level of disgust at the sin we find in ourselves! The exhortation of Psalm 97:10 is simple, but profound in its application: “Hate evil, you who love the LORD!”
Our love for God is measured by whether or not we obey God. “But whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:” (1 John 2:5). “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). Here is where some who profess to love God actually prove that they do not.
I once studied the Bible with a man who simply refused to accept that he needed to be baptized in order to be saved (Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21). At one point we read John 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” The gentleman avowed his belief in what Jesus said. We coupled that passage with Mark 16:16, where Jesus said, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved.” It was there that he balked. I posed this question to him, “If Jesus wants you to be baptized and you refuse, then according to John 14:15, do you really love Jesus?” Tragically, he never accepted the implications of his rejection of Jesus’ instructions.
Do you love God?
Brown Trail church of Christ