[Anabaptists: The Web's first conservative site introducing Mennonites, their history and their beliefs.] NewGuideHistoryDoctrineWritingsBookstore
EspañolChurch LocatorRSS
to the glory of God and the edification of people everywhere

Obedience, the Test of Love

(1 John 5:1-12)

Lesson 4 -- first quarter 1998
December 28, 1997

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1997, Christian Light Publications

Do I love God?
Feelings matter so much to us.

No, I'm not going to launch into a dissertation on why feelings (fickle or otherwise) are bad or a necessary evil. I think our capacity to experience and express emotion is included in the "very good" rating God gave His creative work.

So it is OK that feelings matter so much to us. Feelings result from our interactions in life. Feelings are not to be denied. However, our consciousness of feelings can cause us confusion in our relationship to God.

Now listen to my question: What does it feel like to love God?

We know what Deuteronomy 6:5 says. "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." That sounds like a pretty involved endeavor. We want to love God. We also want to know of a certainty that we do love Him. And therein lies the dilema for many of us. What does it feel like to love God? When we can't identify a certain feeling or when we can't sustain a certain emotional disposition toward God, then we naturally wonder something else: "Do I love God?"

What does it feel like to love God? I don't know. I haven't a clue. I know the passion and feeling of "being in love" with a woman, but I don't recall ever experiencing anything like that in my relationship with God. Does this mean I don't love God? No.

My friend, feelings don't work for determining or gauging our love for God. In case you find that difficult to accept, let me put another question to you: how do you perceive (detect) God's love for us?

If this "method" reveals God's love for us, surely it will work to reveal our love for Him. To know God's secret in this is to be wonderfully free from the tyranny of feeling. If you can accept and practice this "method" of loving God, you will never again need to wrestle with insecurity when you can't muster the right feelings of love. (Whatever those might be!)

How do you detect God's love? The first part of 1 John 3:16 makes it all so very plain: "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us" (1 John 3:16). Do you see it?!

Do you love God? If your life is laid down for Him, then you love Him. No, I don't mean that having a willingness to literally lose your life for Him proves your love for Him. Having your life laid down for Him means living in subjection to His will. You show your love for God through your obedience to Him. Thus you know you love Him!

"If ye love me, keep my commandments. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him" (John 14:15,21).

"If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love" (John 15:10).

"And this is love, that we walk after his commandments" (2 John 6).

To measure your love for God, measure your obedience to Him.

Return to Sunday School Comments index

[Anabaptists: The Web Page]