“How Do I Love Thee”

“How do I love thee, let me count the ways.” Elizabeth Barrett Browning was professing her love to Robert Browning. She went on to say, “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach.” She was a spiritual woman and was mirroring what Paul said of God’s love for us in Romans 8 ~ that neither height nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God. It seems prescient that Browning added, “I love thee freely, as men strive for right.”

Mankind is striving to find meaning in all that is in a jumble right now. We cannot help but look anywhere or listen to anything without the end result being a bout of heartburn. But I’m speaking in this instance to people I know to be believers in God. Christians, to be more exact. I have been amazed at the amount of postings on Face Book that ask you to type “YES” if you believe in God, or basically the same if you believe in Jesus as your savior, and then challenging you to share the posting on your site. These things are interspersed between and amongst some of the most angry and divisive comments and postings by people that are purposely spreading hate and dissension. Yet many of the same people who are taking part in that vile dissemination of quarreling and hate mongering are, in the next breath, asking of your love for God. This is a perplexing thing.

Jesus said if you love me you will obey my commandments. Look up and see what was written and the words He spoke in the gospels. Jesus said in John 5 to search the scriptures for they will testify of Him. He said in Matthew 11 that we were to be yoked to Him. No one else. We are to come to Him and repent of all that is in us that is contrary to what He says, and you’ll be forgiven. Holding on to hate and anything that causes division makes it impossible for us to produce His fruit. We are not to be of this world. In it, yes, but we are to be seen as separate. Lights that testify of Him. Matthew 22 says we are supposed to love our neighbor as ourselves. That is often much harder than it seems. We are to pray for our enemies and do good to those that spitefully use us. Matthew 6 states that unless we forgive, we cannot be forgiven. That verse is too often read over quickly. It’s hard to forgive in some instances, but Jesus didn’t say some trespasses. He was speaking of them all.

So often God’s name is used as if it’s a special password that opens doors and allows one to say whatever they please with no care as to how it reflects on the Lord. Mark 7 speaks to things that render the word of God powerless. It is not what enters a man, but what comes out of him that defiles him. This constant fighting and ignoring what Christ told us causes us to be terrible witnesses of Him and brings shame to His kingdom. What proceeds from a bitter heart and professed from a stage that is falsely set up in His name, causes lasting damage. Before you get into the back and forth of angry battles, remember He said, “If you love Me”. I wish I could do that every time but I fail too often.

Jesus said in John 10 that the works that He does in His Father’s name bear witness of Him. He said that His sheep hear His voice and the voice of another they won’t follow. But we do. We listen to so much verbal diarrhea masquerading as the word of God that we lose track of who we are in Him. We are overcomers through Christ Jesus. Nothing can snatch us from His hand. But we can and do surely get out of His will. We must purpose ourselves to seek Him first in all things, especially before we respond to things we may not be in agreement with. And then seek to see if even that which we disagree with is correct, or are we listening to wrong counsel. Does it line up with what He taught.

The Passion Translation of 1 John 2 says we can only be sure that we’ve come to know God if we keep His commands. If we don’t keep His commands, we are phonies and the truth has no place in us. The only way we can say we are intimate with God is if we are walking in the footsteps of Jesus. We are to walk in the light as He is the light. If not we are blinded by darkness and stumble in the dark. To reiterate what Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me you will obey my commands.” Before you become incensed by someone’s comments or stance, or before you give a thumbs up to a divisive post, keep this verse in mind. Blessings.