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.Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.( John 14:21-24)
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. ( I John 2:15)
For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.( 2 Timothy 4:10)
God commands man to Love Him, with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. The fact that He commands it, is proof that Love is not mere emotion. Love is a choice. We are to “Know and believe the LOVE God has towards us…” and in response we are to Love Him. We were actually created to know and to Love God, and when we fell from grace, God purchased us, in order to bring us into that loving response to Him.
Our Creator/Redeemer knows that one of the reasons for the corruption of our souls, is that we love things with all of our being, which are less than God himself. Spiritually, we are a mess, because we love the wrong things, and in the wrong order of importance.
Everyone has a capacity to love people and things. We all have a lot of “loves”. I love my wife, my children, I love my church, music, fellowship, The Bible, literature, freedom and justice…entertainment, Sports, , I could go on and on.
But underneath all of the ‘loves’ of our lives, there is a master Love, in other words a Supreme Love. Whatever we love supremely , we will always go after. We will pursue in the direction of our master Love, no matter what comes. That master Love is like a gyroscope, it will always head in the same direction and nothing will long deter it.
This is why it is important to realize what your Master Love truly is, and to make sure that you have the only true object as your Supreme Love of your life.
What is it that you Love, “With all of your heart, soul mind and strength”? Anything less than loving God, with all of your heart, soul , mind and strength is corrupting to your soul.
One rival to Loving God, the Father, is ‘Love for the World’. If any one Loves the World, He cannot have the “Love of the Father”in Him. Demas forsook Paul, because he “loved this present World”. He had started out Loving God, but eventually the Love of the World crowded out the Love of the Father. This ‘love of the World’ is a huge subject which I will take up a bit later. Suffice it to say, we are warned of it for a reason.
God allows us to be tried in various ways so that we can know, what is in our hearts. It is not uncommon for a person to imagine that God is first in our heart, and that we love him most of all, but circumstances are arranged that force a decision, in order to reveal the truth that is in us.
If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. ( Deuteronomy 13:1-3)
In this example, God shows us that He will allow for the flourishing of false prophets, who are seemingly powerful and accurate. They perform “signs and wonders”and seemingly help people.
However there is a problem. These same Prophets bring the congregation a teaching, which amounts to a distortion of the concept of the True God. The congregation has a hard choice; do they rejoice in the ‘signs’ and follow the wonder working ‘Prophet’, or do they judge the teaching and reject it as an aberration from the Word?
I have written a book about this called Beware the New Prophets, in which I point to an outstanding illustration of this principle.
A “Prophet” emerged in the late 1940s thru the 1960s whose name was William Branham. He was seemingly able to make predictions, to identify complete strangers by name, relate conversations that they had had in their homes, give details of their lives, and then to pray successfully for their healing!
The Pentecostal Movement was so happy to host and to promote Branham, for He would pack Tents and auditoriums, and his signs and wonders filled churches with eager and amazed seekers.
The problem was his teaching. In fact many of the Pentecostals of the day begged Branham to hold meetings, perform signs and wonders, but could he please refrain from teaching?
Why didn’t they want him to teach at gospel meetings? Because his teaching was scary! Branham believed the the doctrine of the Trinity was of the Devil, that Eve had sexual relations with Satan, and that it is a sin for a woman to cut her hair after the fashions of the day. Branham also taught that the Bible, the Great Pyramid in Gaza Egypt, and the Horoscope were all on the same level.
These Spiritual leaders proved that for the most part they loved crowds, power, acclaim, notoriety, and miracles… more than they loved God. They failed the Deuteronomy 13 test.
God allowed that to happen. He knew what was in their hearts, but he wanted them to know (and to repent of their false love).
To this day William Branham is highly regarded as a prophet within much of Pentecostalism, and in the Word of Faith camp of Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, and the ‘signs and wonders movement” which has developed out of it.
God wants us to Love Him. Loving God means putting his word above everything else. To Love God is to Love the Word, and to be concerned that it not be distorted and misrepresented. When False teaching doesn’t bother you, as long as the experience is pleasing, you do not really Love the LORD, even if you think you do.
Always and ever, our true love will come to the fore. It will lead us in a direction for good or for evil because we will always follow our greatest love, no matter what.
There are many who Love money, or who love fame, adulation and acceptance, with “all of their hearts and souls and minds and with their strength…”, even if they are self deceived and imagine that they love God that way. Circumstances will arise to ‘prove’ our hearts.
At the bottom of all of these corrupting lesser loves, it usually comes down to the Supreme Love of SELF. This “Self Love”, is our biggest problem, and it is our lifelong task in discipleship, to put “Love of Self” back into it’s place, underneath Love for God and Love for our neighbor.We will discuss this in the next segment.
I do not want to give the impression, that I “love the LORD with all of my heart, soul , mind and strength” in a perfect manner at present. We all fall short, I certainly have not attained holiness in perfection. But our highest ideal and goal should be nothing less than to Love God to the core of our being.