We know that we have come to love him if we obey his commands. 1 John 2:3 (NIV)
It was 5 o’clock in the morning. The sun was bright, warm and a slight breeze played in the trees. The river had a tinkling sound as it meandered over the rocks.
Not being an avid fisherman, I had my husband help me with getting the right gear, the right spot and the right bait. Then, we waited. Fishermen don’t talk much, as it might scare the fish. I personally wouldn’t know, as I talk, so I’m not the best judge of fish character.
For what seemed like hours, which they probably were, we fished and did enjoy the beginning of a new summer day on the banks of the Truckee River. It was the middle of a week-long stay on the north shores of Lake Tahoe and fishing was on the to-do and must-do list.
To know me, one would know fishing was not on my to-do list especially for that week.
It was my honeymoon.
Why did I get up before the dawn’s early light and stumble out of bed and scramble to the fishing spot? Because of my love for my man.
I knew it brought him great joy to have me next to him on those banks – even though talking was forbidden, presence was everything. I wanted to please him and I knew this would.
Jesus had a conversation with a rich young ruler while ministering in Capernaum. (See Mark 10:17-23) The young man was rich but reverent. He knew Jesus, so in honor, he ran to Him and fell at His feet. He also asked the one question that really matters:
“Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to have eternal life?” (Mark 10:17 NIV).
In response, Jesus points out a few things: only God is good and the young ruler must have complete reliance on God and find his hope in God through Christ. Also, Jesus brought up a few Old Testament commandments – which He already knew the man knew and kept.
Then Jesus drives it home. A sticking point for this man – Jesus told him of his lack. How could a rich man have a lack, of any sort? He was rich, he had everything he needed.
But Jesus, in love, addressed the core of his heart – greed. Rather than keeping the money and the law, sell what he had and give it away. His treasure would be in heaven, not here on earth. His lack was not having a right relationship with the Good Teacher and having eternal life.
Then the ultimate point He made – follow Me.
The rich young ruler walked away. He did not do as Jesus asked. He did not really know Jesus because he did not desire to please Him. He did not love the Good Teacher.
Jesus explained to His disciples (most likely with mouths agape), “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:24 NIV). Jesus did not say wealth was wrong, only harder to enter the kingdom of God if one had wealth.
Jesus was addressing the heart. He was exposing the ruler’s love. Was it genuine or self-serving? Was it a show and place of pride?
In the end, the young man walked away. Saddened.
Was it just the money? The epicurean lifestyle? Or was it his heart? Did he have no room left in his “inn”? Did he crowd out the most important things in life to pursue the gratifications of the flesh and the immediate ‘happiness’ society deems as important?
Loving Jesus is loving Him in all areas of our life. Everything. With our words. Our thoughts. Our actions. Our alone time. Our busy time. Our relationships. Our pocketbook. Our vacations. Our chores.
In our study time – do we really take the time to study His Words, or do we do a 5-minute devotional and call it good? Reading someone else’s words rather than The Word?
How can we know we honestly love Jesus? Truly know? We know because we are in step behind Him. Not in front of Him but behind following His lead and giving Him full rein in our lives. Knowing Him is knowing Jesus by what He said, did and how He interacted with His Father. And the promises He made of His future at the right hand of the Father in heaven.
And what is He doing just now? Interceding for us – talking to God about us. Yes, He is working for our good and the glory of God. (See Romans 8:34, and 8:28, respectively).
Not sure where to begin or how to know that you know you love Jesus? Begin with the simple question: What must I do to inherit eternal life?
Be sincere, mean it and then wait. God will show you. Have your Bible open and begin reading – the gospel of John is a good beginning. Savor the words of Jesus. Savor His actions and His attitude. Know Him more. Fall in love with Him and you might just end up fishing at 5 am in the morning. And actually enjoy it.
Father God, You are amazing because of so many things and in so many ways. The chief of which is Your holiness. And secondly, You made a way for me to have access to that holiness. His Name is Jesus and He became sin so that I might be covered in His righteousness to have the ability to stand in Your holiness and love You and worship You at Your feet. Because it is here that I want to be. Help me Lord. I fall in step behind You. I wait. I move when You say. I am willing. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.