Proof of Love
How can you tell that someone loves you? Is it enough that they say that they love you? What if they say they do and then they do things that suggests that they don’t?
This is common sense, if you say that you love someone or something, you would show it by the words you say and the things that you do. This same idea also applies when it involves our relationship with God. This was the point Jesus made to the Jewish people in John 5:38-40.
Love on the Surface
Jesus pointed out the flaws in their beliefs. They believed that reading God’s Word was enough to save them. Unfortunately, they failed to see what the Scriptures were telling them; they were pointing to Christ as the only means to salvation.
Many times people think that outward devotion would save them from the wrath that is coming from God. The Lord knows the condition of our heart and He is not deceived by lip service. The proof of us loving God is found when we keep His Word with sincerity of heart. The only way we can have His Word close to us is believing in the Word of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Reading for the Mind
Again Jesus explained in John 5:46-47, that proof of this truth is found throughout Scripture that He Himself is the Word of God. If one reads and does not recognize and believe that Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God, then God’s Word and His Love is not in them. They have rejected the truth they have been given, even though God Himself sent it; as shown in John 5:42-43. If people aren’t getting the Truth of God when reading the Bible, then why do they read it? They read the Word as an academic exercise, taking its words at the intellectual level rather than at the spiritual as it should be.
Reading for the Heart
Reading the Bible must not be superficial, nor can it be just academic. It requires a deep reflection of who God is; after all, the Scriptures are about Him. It is also important, as we study the Word, that we look into ourselves and examine the condition of our souls in relation to His Word. This can be a painful process because no one wants to admit that they have a problem. The Bible does not save a person, instead it is a guide to the One who can save, the Son of God, Jesus.
Talking With God
Recognizing that we need Jesus is the first step to growing closer to the Lord and proving that we love Him. Now how can we gain a full, intimate knowledge of Him through His Word? The first component is prayer. He wants us to talk to Him and also He wants us to listen to Him. The more we pray, the more intimate we be with the Lord. In order for any relationship to thrive, communication is essential.
Where to Start in His Word
After a moment of prayer, it is now time to read God’s Word. Where should we start? That depends on where your heart is at a given time. If you want to learn more about God’s work in history, I suggest reading the Old Testament (Genesis through Esther). If you want to learn how to praise God, I suggest the Psalms. To understand how much Christ loves for, read the Gospels. To grow in your spiritual walk, you ought to read the Letters of the New Testament and even the Wisdom Books of the Old Testament. If you want to know the promises of God, read the Prophets of the Old Testament or the Book of Revelation.
After studying the Scriptures it is essential to set aside quiet reflection. It is very easy to just read Scripture and be done. When you slow down and really think about the great things God has done in your life and in the lives of others and how to apply what you have learned from the passage you read, then your love for God will grow with every read. This reflection can take many forms, I personally use a journal, but others sing songs, paint, or whatever God leads you to do.
More than Head Knowledge
If you claim to love God, then I urge you to start showing it by doing what He says to do in His Scriptures. Spend time with Him in prayer and quietly meditate on His Words. Do not fall into the trap that the Jews in Jesus’ time. They were so enamored with the head knowledge of the Law rather than applying it that they did not have a real love for God but for themselves.