Is there a way to know if we really do love God or not? Jesus taught that a tree is known by its fruit (Mt 7: 15-18; Lk 6:43-44). So the question is, “What fruit should be looking for? The Apostle John wrote, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 Jn 3:18).
In part one of this post, we looked at two ways to examine ourselves and our love for God. In part two, we’ll deal with another two truths that can be used to assess whether we truly love God.
3. You will hate the world
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 Jn 2:15). I don’t think there is a more plain statement in the Bible! We can know that we love God by placing it in contrast with our love for the world.
The Apostle John makes these two loves mutually exclusive, we may have one or the other, but not both. Jesus taught the principle like this, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Mt 6:24).
The challenge for us in this is not one of understanding. These texts are plain, plain enough for an elementary reader to grasp. Where we fall is in trying to make “gray” what these passages make black and white. We live like we can have two masters. We live like we can love the world and God concurrently. Most of us are a mixture if we’re honest.
Our Lord was offered this entire world with all of its “assets” and kingdoms by Satan in exchange for his worship, and he resisted the devil and prevailed! He prevailed for us and has overcome the world and so have we in Him (Jn 16:33;1Jn 4:4). So the admonition is, while we are in the world, we fix our eyes on Jesus and on that great city whose builder and maker is God (Heb 11:10) believing that where our treasure is, our heart is…may it be ever with God.
4. You will love your Christian family
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him” (1 Jn 5:1). Our attitude toward other Christians and the church as a whole tells a lot about how we feel about God himself. It cannot be said, “God I love you, but hate your children!”
Spiritual family is important and its bonds are real. Jesus reinforces this in Mt 12, “And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.’” Jesus wasn’t speaking figuratively. His people, the church, are a family…a real family.
As a family, we have some commands left to us by God for our proper function and health. Some of these include gathering together (Acts 2:26; Heb 10:25), serving (Jn 13:14), love (Jn 13:34-35), kindness (Rom 12:10), welcoming (Rom 15:7, 16:16), and bearing with each other (Gal 6:2; Eph 4:2). This is a small sample of the kinds of things we are to do for each other.
My question to you is not whether you do these things in some Christian space (church, small group, service ministry) rather it’s DO YOU LOVE TO DO THEM? Is your love for the saints of God reflective of your love for God? The Apostle John says it should be. Our service, love, treatment, and devotion to the people of God speaks a loud and clear word about how we really feel about God.