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Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 39 : Love the Lord | Day 272

Love God by Delighting in His Words!

In her mind, the young man was handsome, strong, wise, and everything she had ever dreamed of having in a husband. Words could not describe the joy she felt when he asked her to marry him! But then, war broke out. He was drafted into the army and sent overseas. Before leaving, he promised that they would be married as soon as he returned.

The longer he was away the more her love for him increased. Every day she longed to hear from him and anxiously waited for letters from him. When one arrived, she put everything else aside and read every word he had written. Once was not enough though, and she read his words several more times. She pictured him talking to her and remembered all the times they had enjoyed together. Every letter was a treasure.

The written words of Jesus are His "love letters" to us. One way we demonstrate our love for Him is by delighting in His words.

Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). The Greek word translated keep is tereo. It implies that we are to keep our eyes upon the commandments, concentrate on them, guard them, and hold fast to them. Jesus wants us to keep His words in our hearts and live them out in our lives. He promised that “if ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).

Some believers argue that we do not need to do things for God, and we need only to love Him. Their concern is that a requirement to do things for God implies that we are trying to earn His love, which leads to "legalism." Jesus teaches that we cannot choose between love and actions, but rather that we must choose both! “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” (John 14:21).

The Apostle John affirms this truth: “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (I John 5:2-3). His commands are not burdensome, because God gives them for our good and provides us with the grace to obey them. When we love someone, the things we do for him are not burdensome tasks. Even challenging tasks can become a delight when carried out with the motive of love.

Christ's commands are practical ways to demonstrate our love for God and one another.

Since loving God and loving His Law are synonymous, we can understand why David said, “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day" (Psalm 119:97; see also Psalm 1:2-3). Jeremiah also stated, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart ...” (Jeremiah 15:16).

Is your time with the Lord a pleasure or drudgery? Do you delight in His words through meditation? Do you keep His commandments as a demonstration of your love for Him and devotion to Him? Let's allow our study of the commands of Christ to increase our love for God and His Word.

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard