There is nothing we can do to make God love us anymore than he does. He is love. We know God loves all. That’s settled.
God loves us all but do we love him? He has been reconciled to us by the death of his son. But are we reconciled to him? If we are not reconciled to him, then we are truly in a lost state. It is all a matter of a love relationship.
The only way we know if we love God is if we obey him! Do what he says. Jesus said if you love me you will keep my words. If we don’t keep his commands, we cannot say we love him. Unless we love him wholeheartedly, sincerely, (although imperfectly), we cannot say we love him. The proof for us, as we examine ourselves before Him, is to answer this question: am I committed to obeying Jesus?
He asks us to love him. He commands it. Yet he never forces our love. It is a surprise to many, that Jesus never once asked disciples to worship him. Never once! Instead he asked them to obey him! worship in Spirit, in truth.
If we are to be his disciples then there is no option but to obey his words, take up his yoke, follow him, his word, bear his reproach, suffer with him.
What then are Jesus’ commands?
Some are obvious, so well-known: Love God. Love one another, pray.
Others may not be so obvious or discussed much: follow me, make disciples, teach them to do what I have said, proclaim the Kingdom of God, bear fruit that sticks, abide in me, feed on me and my word, learn from me, serve one another, don’t love the world. Obviously this is not an exhaustive list.
We must not presume that what we have learned in the past, our traditions, our religious practices, is what God commands. We must not assume we know the way. Jesus is the way. We copy him.
Ask yourself: given what we do know of Jesus’ commands, do we have any time and energy to be doing silly religious things or playing church, sitting and watching and listening in the pews?
Is that what Jesus wants us to do? Is that what he started?
We must avoid obeying anyone else but Jesus. If we go on to obey our religious traditions, we are voiding the word of God and are disobedient and preferring another way to Jesus. We must forsake all to follow him.
We must seek his will. Your kingdom come, your will be done as in heaven. This is only possible in us if we obey him. This was his practice with the Father. As Father sent me so I send you. The servant is not above his master.
If we are going to obey Jesus, then a lot of things, religious stuff will have to be laid aside. Heaps of so-called Christianity will have to be abandoned. Then we will have the time and the energy and the ears to carry out what he wants, especially in bearing witness to him and making disciples. We must jettison churchy stuff, trivial rules and dogmas, passive meetings where no repentance and action takes place, and so on.
Jesus only taught what his Father said – what he heard from God. His commands are the Father’s commands. So we also must teach only what we hear from God, from what Jesus has commanded us. There is no other viable, sustainable option. Anything else is a waste of time. And Jesus’ yoke is actually easier. Easier!
This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome (1 Jn 5:3).