Do you love me more than these?

Posted: June 9, 2015 in Devotionals, Shared Thoughts, Wake Up!
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“Do you love me more than these,” Jesus asked of Peter who had not too long before boldly stated before all the disciples “Though all men forsake Thee, I will not.”

Here Jesus was graciously administering some much needed comfort and healing to Peter because of his earlier three denials with three precious opportunities to confirm his love for Christ. Yet Jesus takes Peter further as He continues with His instruction to Peter as to how He wants Peter to love Him; 1. Feed my Sheep and 2. Follow me. What a blessing it is that the Lord instructs us how to pray, love, serve and worship Him.

Certainly nobody could deny Peter loved Christ in view of the fact that he had been willing to lay down his life for Jesus who tells us there is no greater love than that . . . however, love needs to be . . . no, actually love must be given to the honoring of its proclaimed point of affection. Godly love doesn’t merely seek its own expression; rather it pursues the gratification of the other. Sadly, many believers nowadays think they truly are loving and following Christ . . . yet if they would honestly look at themselves in the light of God’s word, they are not really loving Him according to this exhortation to Peter. Rather they are like those James tell us who look in a mirror and see what manner of person they really are and then walking away forget what they saw and continue unchanged. Such believers have essentially allowed themselves to be pacified in their faith(fulness) by a momentary stimulation or arousal of longing affection which only conclusion is in its own expression of emotions and feelings . . . emotions and feelings that are no more beneficial to God or others than that induced euphoria of one’s mood when it is altered because of drugs or alcohol.

One of my favorite songs is “Oh how He loves us” by John Mark McMillon. It is a great song full of worship and adoration birthed out of heartache and grief, yet so many believers merely bask in the powerful and intense emotions of the song and actually go away unchanged because all their focus was on self-gratification. Yes! Yes! God does love us with a love no less or greater, but that isn’t a question that must be answered in spirit and truth. The question is “Do we really love God?” If we say we do, then doesn’t His spirit convict that we should keep His commandments and walk in the light of His word; loving mercy, doing justly and walking humbly with Him?

If our love is not alive and empowered by the spirit of works that James talks about when he warned us all of a “faith” which is nothing more than a powerless belief that lacks that the mindfulness of our holy obligation to a life of servitude of love and gratitude… such “faith” is not really faith at all. Just as body is without the spirit and faith without works is dead, so likewise is love without surrender to God’s will . . . dead.

Faith needs to be working, acting, and responding by love if it is truly to be the breastplate of righteousness of the saints. For both faith and love were introduced simultaneously and become realities to the sinner by the Word of God via the Gospel with its power to transform him from sinner into a saint. From then on one has the responsibility to assure their faith and love continues to grow and be governed thereby.

1 Peter 1:21 Who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Jesus Christ directed Peter to prove his love by feeding God’s flock: feed My lambs, feed My sheep, follow Me. Jesus wasn’t wanting the great sacrifice of Peter heroically losing his life as he alone battled in defense of Jesus life and freedom in the garden. Clearly we can see how Peter was indeed willing to fight in his flesh, but by Jesus own words we can see Jesus could have gained His freedom by simply summoning legions of angels. Instead, Jesus was looking for Peter to come to a resolve to live and love Jesus with an absolute subjected and righteous love that was truly to the praise, glory and honor of God. Only then could the living and laying down of Peter’s life accomplish that which God so desires through Peter’s love for Him; more strong and healthy lambs and sheep.

1 John 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

Yes, Jesus told Peter that he was in fact going to die for Him, but only after he had truly lived for Him. This makes me wonder how it is so many are deceiving themselves thinking they can bring honor to Christ by dying for Him when they won’t even live for Him today and walk in His will. Nonetheless, so many are persuaded by their own emotional feelings that they “love” Jesus… without truly following Him or even striving to complete that for which they were called and chosen, to be faithful to the will of their loving Redeemer.

Hence Jesus warned us all that when He returns He is going to separate the sheep from the goats, those who did His will and followed Him from those who didn’t. Yes, we are to feed the hungry and give refreshing drink to the thirsty . . . even to strangers. To give clothing, comfort through visitation to the sick and support to those in prison… and these things are to be done literally.

If we looked around we’d see that there are still many within our reach that are still hungering for that they know not and are dying of a thirst that can only be quenched in those who are willing to obediently follow Christ and to allow His rivers of living water to flow from their innermost being and out to the lost of this world. Such is why Jesus came to seek such as you and I, that He might heal us and them. Therefore as long as we have breath we would all do well to heed Christ’s healing words in His admonition for Peter to follow Him and do likewise, feed My lambs and sheep.

Sadly, too many in Christ’s own Body have fallen sick and diseased through the lies they have carelessly accepted as light but are really the deceitful doctrines of devils and lies of cunning of men. How sad when these are the ones who were called to go forth and minister the healing of God’s truth through the power (notice that word “POWER”) of the Gospel to set men free indeed. It is the key that Christ gave unto Peter and to all of us, so that we too can offer robes of righteousness to those whose nakedness remains their shame. We must go to those in their own prison and captive by their sin and expose the deceit and proclaim to them the Gospel, setting them free as well so they too can freely love and follow Christ.

That is what being a Christian is, that is what loving Christ is all about.

Matthew 25:31 – When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: 32 And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me. 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw You hungry and gave You food, or thirsty and gave You something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave You clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw You sick or in prison and visited You?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of My family, you did it to Me.

Yes, God loves us, Oh how He loves us. But thankfully He loves enough not to leave us as we are… so let’s not be content to leave others as they are.

So the question still remains… do you love Him?

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