Does Your Definition of Love Match Jesus'?
A simple test!
Have you read in Mark 10 about the story of the rich young man who asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
We see in verse 20 that the man believes that he has kept all the commandments, but Jesus tells him to sell his things and give his money to the poor.
In the following verse, it says,
Jesus looked at him and LOVED HIM. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Notice that Jesus looked at him and LOVED HIM!
What did Jesus do next?
What did love actually look like in action?
Love told the sinner the truth.
The truth was that the young man was actually caught up in idolatry, which is a direct violation of the first commandment as outlined in Exodus 20:3.
The man loved money more than God. Money therefore was the man’s God. Matthew 6:24 explains that you can’t serve two masters, both money and God. You have to choose.
The man thought he was righteous by keeping the law. Jesus showed him that he was a transgressor of the law. He told him the truth that would save his life - to give up idolatry and follow Jesus. The same truth that we need to preach to others in this generation.
Today, we hear so much about ‘love’ in the church, saying that we must love one another just as Jesus commanded. This is true, and because love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, we have the grace (power) to show His love (agape) to others. But if we are to respond to Jesus’ commandment to ‘love others’, then shouldn’t we also learn from Jesus how love is truly shown? Jesus didn’t cuddle the man or promise a world of riches once he started to follow Him, nor did He preach about living your best life now or how to draw success like a magnet…. He told the man the truth. The man was a sinner and he needed to repent and follow Jesus.
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Jesus laid down His life for the sins of the world and He knows His sheep.
Today, we think that we are being loving by not offending people with the truth – the full gospel. But Jesus showed them His love by telling them the truth of their situation. Shouldn’t we tell them why Jesus died? Shouldn’t we tell them what Jesus came to rescue them from and why they even need saving? Even John 3:16 gives us the balance of the gospel – what we have been saved from (death) and given in return if we are to believe (life).
Are we ashamed of the gospel today?
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
The gospel is powerful – it is truth, and the truth makes people free.
According to Jesus, when you love someone, you tell them the truth about how they can inherit eternal life. This is love in action straight from the One who is love.
QUESTION: Are your ways greater than His ways? Are you exalting your definition of love above His? Are you afraid of the persecution that you know will result when you do preach truth? Do you trust Him? If so, then surrender to His ways today and lean not on your own understanding.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
— By Judah Ayling