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Do You Love Me?

Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?” (John 21)
             In light of those words, I am pleased to see a church sign in our town which says, “Jesus loves you. Is the feeling mutual?” Read simply the meaning is obvious—“Jesus loves you. Do you love him too?” That is truly the bottom line question. Do you love God/Jesus? It is what God is looking for from all of us.
            However, the form of the question on the sign reveals a bias in our culture which I believe causes many Christians problems. It is the notion of love as exclusively a feeling, an emotion or affection. Or, as I once heard Stuart Briscoe put it love, to many people, means “to like an awful lot.” So, when we are told to love our enemies or those we don’t like it seems an impossible dream. I believe, for many people and perhaps for all of us at times we do not really feel affection for God.
            If our understanding of marriage is based of the idea of love as a feeling (romance, affection) then can wholesale divorce be far behind?
            Don’t misunderstand. I am minimizing the importance of romance, affection or how great feelings can be. But, the Bible shows us a love more stable, more dependable, more wonderful still. It is a love which chooses to seek another’s good, to please another, to act in ways that are in their best interests whether we feel like it or not. The amazing thing is that when we do that the feelings often follow.
            John puts it this way: “This is love for God: to obey his commands” (I John 5:3). It is not, “do you like God a whole lot?” It is, “do you try to please God?” It is not, “when someone mistreats you, do you have a warm fuzzy feeling toward them?” It is, “do you treat them like you would want to be treated?” Jesus says it all depends on this:

 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Luke 10:27)

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