It’s easy to profess to be a Christian based on church attendance, a sinner’s prayer once prayed, a baptism, or a family tradition, but none of these are reliable tests of your profession of faith in Christ. One’s claim to know Christ becomes less flippant when tested against the biblical imperative of love for Him. You can learn a lot about the genuineness of a person’s faith by his answer to one simple and provocative question: What do you love about Jesus?list
When you love someone, you know why you love them. A mother has an instinctive affection for her children just because they’re hers, but she is also able to describe what it is about each one of them that stimulates her love. A husband might stutter and stumble a bit when unexpectedly pressed to explain what he loves about his wife. He might even be tempted to answer, “I don’t have a specific reason. I just love her.” But once he spends some time in thought, the man who truly loves his wife will be reminded of certain qualities in her that inspire his affection.
So what do you love about Jesus? “I don’t know, I just do,” is not an acceptable answer. If you know Jesus (as all true Christians do), then you know at least something about Him. And everything about Jesus inspires affection in the person who has been given the ability to see Him for Who He really is.
When I started writing this article, my intent was to provide the reader with a list of Jesus’ qualities as described in the Bible. After some thought, I decided to take a different course. I decided to challenge you to come up with your own list, not based on mine, but based on what gives you joy when reading or hearing what the Bible says about your Lord and Savior.
Furthermore, don’t restrict your self-test to loving those qualities of Jesus that even unbelievers admire—things like, “He was a wise teacher,” “He was a great prophet,” “He loved little children,” “He was kind to even the lowliest members of society,” “He not only saved sinners, but also ate supper with them,” and so on. There are indeed many things about Jesus that even people who are going to hell can say they love. Jesus, however, disdains the kind of “love” for Him that is only partial, that is tempered by cultural expectations of political correctness, or that is inspired by mere emotionalism.
Not everything about Jesus produces the natural man’s admiration. After all, He demanded things that seem impossible to give, setting standards that appear too high for anyone to reach. He exposed the darkest secrets of the natural human heart, portraying it as a fountain of moral filth. He gave instructions that turned the world upside down and insulted its conventional wisdom. He pointed His followers to the narrow and difficult way, and went on to say that only a few will find it. Yes, He spoke of sinners being saved, but He also spoke of salvation being the Father’s choice, not ultimately of man’s free will. Finally, He warned often of a real and eternal place called hell, and spoke of Himself as the only way of avoiding it. He ruled out every other supposed way as not only invalid, but foolish and deceptive and evil.
So before you say, “I love Jesus” and consider yourself a Christian based on that profession, carefully examine the Bible for yourself to know who He really is, what He really did, and what He really said. Then, make your own list of the things you love about Him.
If you truly love Jesus, you will love all of Him. True believers are also unqualified admirers. They don’t try to edit biblical depictions of Jesus to suit their own preferences. Their goal is not to conform Him to their pre-conceived ideas of what the Son of God should be like. Rather, as they learn more and more about Him, they love Him more and more, even for changing the way they formerly thought about what is good and right and true.
“If anyone does not love the Lord, He is to be accursed.”
(1 Cor. 16:22)