Jesus said, “If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands.” John 14:15 AMP
Love is about freedom. Love always gives us a choice. You love people when you allow them to be who they are, rather than what you want or need them to be. Jesus loves us.
He gives us freedom to choose whether we want to love Him or not; whether we depend on Him, or depend on ourselves. But in Him is life. Acting on our own is sin, and sin leads to death. But you get to choose. He still loves you either way, but sin grieves His heart because it separates us from fellowship with Him. Not His choice, but ours.
One day a bunch of Pharisees tried to discredit Jesus by getting Him to fall into a semantics trap: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the Law of Moses?”
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40 NLT.
Note what Jesus said: Love God, love people, love yourself. The greatest command of all is love. When we are loving people, we are loving God, too. And remember, you are a people also. Jesus says, “And as you are loving your neighbor, make sure you love yourself.”
Love is about freedom, allowing people to be who they are wherever they are on their Journey. People felt comfortable around Jesus, because He gave them freedom to be. He never forced His will upon them. He never does and never will. That is not what love does and Jesus is love.
There have been times in my life when I wished Jesus would have forced me to do His will. It would have saved me and a bunch of people I know and love a lot of heartache.
But love never imposes upon another. Think about what Jesus did for us, just to give us a choice. He died and paid the wages of sin for us. Then He rose from the dead and offered to give us His life when we were dead in our sins.
The Bible says that sin puts us in bondage to the enemy of our souls. Jesus died, and rose again to set us free. After He did, He said, “Now you are free to choose me if you want. But you don’t have to. You can reject the offer.”
Can you believe that? If I let my son die for you, which I don’t think I could do, you better believe you would owe me. You had better do everything I ask from you forever or else. Father sent His Son to a world that rejected Him, crucified Him and stuck Him in a tomb.
Then Father raised Him from the dead and offered to give us the life of his son. Jesus was and is an outrageous gift. And what does He ask in return? Simply accept the gift, thank Him and go enjoy life — his life. How awesome is that?
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes (clings to, trusts in, relies upon, puts his whole weight upon) in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.
Now, back to my point. Do you really love Jesus? If love is giving another freedom to be who they are without them having to be what we want and need them to be, do you love Jesus like that?
Do you give Jesus freedom to be Who He is without expecting Him to be what you want and need Him to be? If Jesus is your life — he is if you are a born again believer — are you getting out of His way and allowing Him to do and say what He wants? Wonder if Jesus wants to do something wild and crazy like He was prone to do when He walked the earth?
Jesus touched a leper, talked to a Samaritan prostitute in public, drove out the moneychangers in the Temple, defiled the Sabbath by healing a man, allowed a prostitute to kiss his feet at the supper table. I could fill a book with all the religious rules that Jesus broke. But then love never was much for rules.
Jesus loved the unlovable, accepted the unacceptable and made treasures out of what the world called trash. Jesus gives you freedom to be who you are. Would you be willing to return the favor and let Him be Who He is? Do you really love Him enough to give Him the freedom to do whatever He likes?
You never looked at it quite that way before, did you? Do you love Jesus… really?
Kenny Ashley is pastor of The Journey in Lake Wylie.