Simon, Son of John – Do You Love Me?

doyouloveme

I’ve never seen His face, I’ve never gazed into His eyes, but I have knelt at His feet in my mind and in my spirit, in worship and in adoration and in my many times of need.

I understand the necessity of studying about Christianity, about being able to defend your faith in God and give an answer to any that might inquire. I do enjoy learning about what God has created and the wonder of our universe and in particular our world. I can marvel at the complexities of biological life and the beauty of God’s creation. I can even say that I love God’s Word and I do, but the reason for that is that it draws me closer to Jesus, to my oneness with Him.

When you stop to think about it, love is not a material thing, it doesn’t really have a particular shape, you can’t hold “love” as you would an object, and you can’t buy true love. Yet, of all the things that we experience in this life, love can be the most elusive, our strongest desire and our most precious and valued possession.

I don’t know why but in Church as of late, when we are singing our songs of praise, tears seem to fill my eyes and I become almost overwhelmed with emotions within me. It’s hard to put into words what is happening but I’m sure you’ve been there. And for me, that’s what my trust and faith in Jesus is all about. Sometimes He overwhelms me.

The purpose of The Comforter, God’s Holy Spirit, is to lift up Jesus Christ, and that is exactly what He does.

John 15:26-27 NIV: “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.  And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.”

There is a big difference between gaining knowledge and gaining personal experience of God’s presence.

I know, we are warned about basing our faith on “experience”, especially when it doesn’t coincide with God’s truth as revealed in the Bible and I absolutely agree with that but ….. there is nothing that I am aware of the supersedes the awareness and beauty of God’s love and presence and what happens within us when that happens.

I didn’t fall in love with religion, I didn’t fall in love with facts nor did I fall in love with principals, concepts or theology.

All these things can be good but that is not what I fell in love with, I fell in love with God as expressed in the Scriptures through the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus said in John 14:9 NIV “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father”.  I believe that. To hear what Jesus said, to see what Jesus did, was to see God our Heavenly Father in action, through His Son. This is a truth that is all through the Scriptures.

The words that we read in our Bibles are designed to bring us into the presence of God. Prayer is designed to bring us into the presence of God. All of God’s truth is designed to bring us into the presence of God. Remember the veil in the Holy of Holies? Remember that the veil was torn from the top to the bottom in the temple in Jerusalem when Jesus died on the cross? That’s what Jesus did, by His death for our sins He gave us access to the presence of God.

And no, it’s not all about feeling good, there is a delicate balance, a distinct difference about simply pursuing “feeling good” and being in God’s presence.

I love my wife. That’s just a beautiful reality of my life. But as most of us who have been married for a good number of years will attest to, we husbands don’t walk around all the time thinking of how much we love our wives. Matter of fact, in my particular case, there are times when my wife can annoy me and vice versa. We have a magnet on our fridge that says, “I love you more today that I did yesterday. Yesterday you really got on my nerves!”. But ….. if I expect to hear from her and I don’t for some unknown reason, I sometimes begin to worry because she means an awful lot to me and I don’t want anything bad to happen to her. That’s because I love her.

Living in this world means that our feet have to be on the ground. We go about doing what we do, be it raising our families, earning our living, taking care of what needs to be taken care of. But there are those times when we ourselves need to be recharged, when we need to draw on that which sustains us and for Christians who have honestly and seriously given their hearts and lives to Christ, He is our source, He is to whom we draw close. There are times when He draws close to us and there are times when we draw close to Him. It is beautiful when God initiates drawing close to us and it can happen when you least expect it or it can happen in Church when we are singing songs of praise to Him, God’s Holy Spirit does that. But when you have a need for that oneness, when you feel that need within, that’s when it is so vitally important that you know how to draw close to Him.

When that happens, when I feel that need, I don’t read up on all the things I know about Christianity, I don’t get a book out and review what I have learned about the universe and I don’t dig out my favourite book on theology, I draw close to Him, usually in prayer. That’s where I get recharged, that’s where the oneness is maintained. It happens daily.

Some days I will hug my wife two or three times, sometimes only once. We have a oneness together. Sometimes I will pray three or four times a day, sometimes only once, we (God and I) have our oneness there. I have learned that there are many lessons to be learned about our oneness with God that are linked to the oneness that a husband and wife have. It’s a functional relationship. There is a balance that needs to be maintained and it takes paying attention, consistency and effort.

The whole point of this post is to emphasize that the relationship we have with God has to be personal, functional, real. That’s where the love grows.

And just like when Jesus asked Peter if he loved him, it is out of that love that we move forward with doing God’s will. Group activities with the Church are great, Christian retreats, witnessing etc but ABSOLUTELY NOTHING replaces our oneness times with God. Don’t make the mistake of putting the cart before the horse or even worse, pushing the cart without the horse. Remember that Jesus said, I am the vine, you are the branches, without Me you can do nothing. 

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

 

 

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About

Disciple of Jesus, married to Peggy, with 5 grown up children, 6 grand children, ex-Canadian military and residing in beautiful Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. a.k.a. "Papa"

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Posted in Apologetics, Defending Christianity, Faith
One comment on “Simon, Son of John – Do You Love Me?
  1. So true, Bruce. How wonderful it is that knowing God isn’t about rules or facts…although to know Him truly, we must study His Word. Yet, all of that is for naught if we don’t have a relationship, a warm, growing and personal relationship with Him. Wonderful explanation of what it means to walk with Christ. Your description of your relationship with your beautiful bride really helps us grasp what it means to have that kind of close relationship with Christ! Excellent post!

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