Sunday, January 9, 2011

I Don't Love Jesus

My four-year-old bounced off the desk as I sang to him the first few bars of "I love you a bushel and a peck."

"Where did you learn that, mommy?"

I told him of my daddy's father, Grandpa John. The nearly ever-present grin. The mischief. I was in college when he died and couldn't attend the funeral. It was a death that left behind a silence where his laughter and those oft-sung words once were.

With the word "death" spoken, Wyatt launched into one of those impromptu discussions I would have been more prepared for at breakfast than right before bedtime.

During the conversation, I said, "You love Jesus, right?"

Wyatt responded immediately. "No."

That wasn't a response I expected. An image of a "Bad Mother of the Year" trophy loomed in my mind.

"Yes, you do," I insisted, then asked the question a second time. Consistent as always, Wyatt's answer still didn't change. "No." Then, in that sing-song childlike voice, he added, "Weeellllllll...I try to love Jesus. But then my heart goes real, real fast. And then I'm naughty. I don't want to be naughty, but I still do naughty things."

Later, after the conversation was over, I was met with the still silence that only comes after lights out to a two-year-old-twin-filled household. The more I thought about it, the more I realized this child was right and I was wrong.

I say I love Jesus. I believe that with my being. But many times, that love is an empty statement much like those mandatory paper valentines I would receive from each classmate in elementary school. In truth, my actions belied those words.

Loving Jesus isn't difficult. Jesus describes very succinctly what should be our greatest priority: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment" (Matt. 22:37)-8.

In another passage, Jesus explains exactly what it means to "Love the Lord your God": "If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love" (Jn. 15:10).

The definition of loving God could be simplified as "obeying God."

In the Old Testament, God's words to Israel are equally simple concerning how the people were to show their love to God. God explained how He would bless and curse His chosen people based on their level of obedience and love toward Him.

Through Moses, He said, "I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments" (Deut. 30:16).

The interesting thing is that God knew His people didn't have a chance of loving Him on their own in this manner. So, He declared,"Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live"(Deut. 30:6).

Through the Holy Spirit, God has circumcised all Christians' hearts so we can love Him with all our heart and all our soul. But like Israel, our hearts still have a tendency to stray--even if in just the smallest of ways.

And with each straying is a little bit less "all", a little less love for God.

We say we love Him; yet, do we regularly spend no time in prayer with Him daily? Are our schedules so packed that we have no time to minister to others? Do we casually disobey one or more of His commands because we think it's not a big deal? Do we still participate in some "harmless" sin even though God's Spirit has prompted us to stop?

Do our actions reflect our saying "I love Jesus"?

Or should our honest answer really be, "No."


  1. Such a great post! Heart-breaking and thought-provoking. Love that little boy :)

  2. Hi, this is a friend of Johnathan and Liza's...we met way back when he was stationed in Ohio and now we're stationed in DC with them!

    would you mind if I borrowed your words (and Wyatt's) for our Bible Study tomorrow night??

  3. Hi, your blog really touches me, have been reading it for awhile... Just wanted you to know about a website i started It's a place for Bible study guides.. I also put a forum in that can be viewed from a mobile device.. I couldn't find where to contact you privately so I'm commenting, hope that is okay. :) God Bless! Jenn.