Love of God.

Jesus was asked about the most important of God’s commands, and instead of picking just one (as the great Pharisee teacher Hillel did), he picked two.

Mark 12.28-31 KWL
28 One of the scribes was standing there listening to the discussion.
Recognizing how well Jesus answered the Sadducees, he asked him, “Which command is first of all?”
29 Jesus gave this answer: “First is, ‘Listen Israel: Our god is the Lord. The Lord is One.
30 You must love your Lord God with all your heart, life, purpose, and might.’ Dt 6.4-5
Second is, ‘Love your neighbor like yourself.’ Lv 19.18
No command is higher than these.”

So let’s talk about those commands. Because the Holy Spirit empowers us with the love necessary to obey ’em.

Starting with love for the LORD God. The Spirit hasn’t granted us his fruit solely so we love other people. It’s also so we can love him. A fruity Christian loves God. Loves Jesus too, ’cause he’s God. Loves the Holy Spirit, ’cause he’s God.

Fruitful people look forward to time spent with God. We look forward to worship—and no, I don’t mean music. True worship, the kind of worship God asks us for, is obedience and good works. Swapping out music for true worship—substituting entertainment and feel-good emotion for being like Jesus—is one of the devil’s cleverer tricks, ’cause it appeals to Christians so effectively. Nothing wrong with loving Christian music, but fruity Christians wanna serve God too, and that’s through doing as Jesus teaches.

Fruity Christians also look forward to Jesus’s second coming. We’re not hoping he’ll delay it so we can get a few other sins things crossed off our to-do lists. Nor are we looking forward to demented versions of it where we dodge suffering, or where pagans get wiped out. We want Jesus to save the world—and we wanna be with him when it happens!

A fruitless Christian prefers God stick to a weekend schedule. Stop interfering with our time the rest of the week; our “tithe” of time takes place Sunday morning, and maybe Wednesday nights, and that’s all. Any more is inconvenient, and even those Sundays and Wednesdays are kind of a drag. Whereas fruity Christians desire God, don’t wanna encounter him only at church services, doesn’t resent him taking up “our time,” and extends our worship of him to 24/7.

Fruity Christians don’t resent God for taking up our time, using our resources, denying us things, or telling us no. We humbly accept he’s Lord. We don’t keep a list of stuff he owes us, or is obligated to make up for us; we don’t plan to accost Jesus at his second coming and say, “So when’m I getting my crown and mansion, and how close will my office be to yours?” We have no ulterior motives for following God, like power and rank and wealth. We love him. That’s more than reward enough.

Fruity Christians don’t give up on God. Don’t lose faith in God. Always hope in God. Endure through every circumstance because of God. ’Cause when we love God, we do as love does—towards God.

The fruitless Christian, not so much. Lots of works of the flesh, all directed towards God instead of love. Fruitless “worship” will only consist of music which doesn’t lead us to repent any, or helps us insist we already have repented, and we’re good, and right, and justified. And therefore it’s okay to do evil and fall back on cheap grace, or hate others on the grounds they sin or are heretic. And all sorts of Christianism instead of worship.

So… do you love God?

If we love God, we follow the apostles’ definition of love 1Co 13.4-8 when it comes to God. We’re not satisfied with lip service and happy music; we act like we love God. It’ll be obvious to others. Hopefully to ourselves too.

I could rant further and hope you get the point, but instead I’ll do a quiz. Quizzes are fun.

If we love God, we’ll…

OBEY HIM. Or try to, anyway. And not just obey the convenient commands, but make an honest effort to find out which of ’em Christians oughta practice in the present day, then stick to ’em. Including the hard ones.
WALK IN GOD’S WAYS. More than just obeying God, we try to act like he does. Look at Jesus’s example. And it’s way more than just “What Would Jesus Do?”—we don’t guess what he’d do, ’cause we’ll easily project our motives upon him and guess wrong. When in doubt, ask. The Holy Spirit will tell us.
LOVE PEOPLE. Including the unloveable. As Jesus does. He orders us to unconditionally love everyone just the same. If we don’t truly love God, it’s kinda inevitable we won’t love others. 1Jn 4.8
PUT GOD ABOVE OTHERS. Yeah, that includes rejecting the peer pressure our friends might put on us to do various unholy things. But it’s even more than that. It’s putting family behind God: Telling the kids, the parents, the spouse, “No,” because you actually love and prioritize God more.
PUT GOD ABOVE MONEY. If our worship of God doesn’t result in tighter finances, we’re doing it wrong.
HATE EVIL. Primarily our own evil; we’re not gonna self-delusionally think we’re above every potential temptation. And yeah, we’re gonna hate other forms of evil, and actively strive to stamp it out. (Without unintentionally stamping on other people; we’re gonna remember to love them too.)

You should wind up ticking all the boxes. If not, work on it! Ask the Spirit for more love. Start obeying him. It’s a benevolent circle (the opposite of the vicious one): When we do for God, we love him more; when we love him more, we do more for him. And so on. It escalates. Grows faith too. Try it.