I love Jesus
If someone asked if I loved Jesus, I’d quickly say yes. After all, isn’t that the crux of my Christianity? I’ve been a Christian “all my life”, born into the church by full-time ministers, who encouraged a personal relationship with God beyond the traditions of the church.
I don’t recall anytime where my relationship was forced by external routine that my parents demanded us to subscribe to. They always pointed us to an understanding of Jesus as our personal Lord and Saviour.
From a tender age I had an appreciation for the presence of God. But inherent in this personal relationship with God is its ebbs and flows that each individual must contend with, regardless of the fortitude of one's background.
For many years I tried to understand the dynamic of loving God from a place of genuine affection and my love for Him expressing itself only through being a submissive child or servant.
I’d question, what comes first? Do I work on loving God so much that anything He sasks I’ll do? Or do I work myself into obedience so much that I begin to love Him? Balance has been a constant feature in my prayers for a while now and it also filtered into this area.
I don’t want to become a “hippie” Christian so strung out and high on the mushy love of Christ, which I’ve seen lead to inactivity. Nor do I desire the opposite of lifeless legalism where I work and work but never have any true cherishing of my Master’s character.
Love and obedience
This grand design of the congruence of love and obedience had to be unfolded to my finite mind in stages. So I believe each year God would enlighten me on another part. In one phase I learnt that loving God isn’t completely reduced to mushy nice thoughts about Him. Then I gained an appreciation that obedience is God’s love language, as my sister-in-law had shared with me once.
This one rung true to me especially as I studied the book of St. John. Then there was a part B to this revelation, that God is a great and powerful God and should be feared and obeyed. Literally all these revelations refined more of my understanding of God’s perception of love. Finally, He has been putting together how they come together.
I watched a video with Francis Chan, who essentially asked “if you could have heaven with no sickness, no danger, none of earth’s bad components, with all this earth’s pleasures and the people you love and value, but Jesus wasn’t there, would you be satisfied?”
Is it the prospect of a lifetime with Jesus that excites my heart about heaven, or is it the promise of eternal bliss? This question gets to the root of what we really treasure and it brought home to me, that maybe I haven’t yet gotten to a place of cherishing Jesus enough, I might only see Him as my sufficiently likable employer/master.
A call to this generation
Treasure isn’t a word that finds common use in our modern vernacular but in recent times has become a telling word for me. I read an article soon after watching the video that essentially shared that we are wired to serve the things that we love/treasure.
Jesus is our ultimate example and I believe he exemplified the balance of truly loving the Father and then that genuine treasuring resulting in action. John chapter 14, verse 31 says “But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.”
The call to this generation is to fall in love with Jesus, not an overly romanticized infatuation that only leads to butterflies. But rather a radical treasuring of Jesus as our true portion and possession, delight and reward that leads to ignited service. This I believe is done through intentional intimacy with God where we respond like the Psalmist, “your face will I seek.” God brings everything into balance after that. We see this plainly through the life of Jesus.
Jhonelle is a Jesus enthusiast and Christian youth leader. She’s a lover of all things related to discipleship and a freelance writer.