A surpassing love for Jesus! Do you believe that you truly love the Lord Jesus? Are you passionately devoted to Him, think about Him, defend Him, and are loyal to Him wherever you may be? Do you speak to Him and sing about Him? Are you willing to choose Him before any other human being? Do you have this surpassing love for Jesus?
Through the years, songs that extol human romantic love have come across the airwaves around the world. CDs and MP3s and before that records and tapes elevated this romantic “love” in a million ways. Through the centuries, I suppose, poets and authors have likewise described the blessedness of a love for a man for a woman—and vice versa. We know that this human love, particularly found in marriage, is a blessing that God intends for His children (cf. Ephesians 5:25; Colossians 3:19).
Beyond all of this, however, we must see something that is higher than this earthly, human romantic love. We refer to Christ’s love for us and the love that He wants us to have for Him! John the apostle writes, “We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Although this probably is a reference to God’s love for us (cf. vv. 16, 20, 21), the same could be said of Christ’s love for us. This is a love that is found in the highest degree as we view our Savior’s love for us through the cross (cf. Galatians 2:20; Romans 8:35).
But how do we respond to Christ’s love for us? We love Him in return! And this love must be a surpassing, passionate, overwhelming love for Jesus. The Savior made this clear when He tells His disciples, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:37-38). Our love for Jesus must be so intense that all other legitimate “loves” must seem like “hatred” in comparison (Luke 14:26).
We know that love of parents, like honor of parents, is surely God’s will (cf. Ephesians 6:1-3). We also know that we are to love our sons and daughters, for they have been given by God to our care. This “family” type of love is right and good, something that delights God’s heart. However, our love for the Lord Jesus Christ far surpasses even this type of reasonable and honorable love. Do you and I love our Lord to this measure? Does it consume us and captivate us? Paul says that “the love of Christ controls us” (2 Corinthians 5:14a). This probably is a reference to Christ’s love for us, but it is equally true that our love for Him should “control” us—our heart, mind, and life itself.
The basic meaning of “control” here is “restrain, take hold of, or grip” (Fred Fisher, Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians, p. 339). While it may refer to a restraining force in his life, it can also refer to a “driving force” in Paul’s life. If the latter, Paul may be saying that this love impels us on and holds him to Christ’s love and His love for Christ.
Do you and I allow our interest in other things to take precedence over our love for Christ? Do we allow our love for others—whether a spouse, a child, a parent, or a boyfriend or girlfriend—to have a greater importance in our life than is proper? Christ said that if we allow love for any human being to overshadow our earnest love for Him, then we are unworthy of Him (Matthew 10:37). Let us not allow any earthly thing to crowd out our deep and intense love for the Lord Jesus. Determine now to order your “love life” according to God’s will and the love that Jesus our Lord deserves and demands!
One final point needs to be made. Our love for Christ is not merely something that resides in our heart or inner person. Rather, we demonstrate our love by our sincere responses to Him. Jesus declared, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). He also said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me” (14:21a). Again, “He who loves Me, he will keep my word” (v. 23a). The converse is also true: “He who does not love Me does not keep My words” (v. 24a).
Do we realize how important this is? Jesus is saying that if we really love Him, with the supreme love we have been describing, we will demonstrate that love by our obedience to Him. If we fail to obey Him, we show that we don’t truly love Him. Let’s take this warning and let our lives demonstrate our overwhelming and exclusive love for Jesus!