How does a person love Jesus? What does it mean to love Jesus?
To love Jesus means, first of all, to receive Him (John 1:12–13). Receiving Jesus is not something that comes naturally to anyone (1 Corinthians 2:14). In fact, the Scripture describes humans as born in sin and naturally hostile to God (Psalm 51:5; Colossians 1:21). It is only when we are born again (regenerated) by the Spirit of God that our disposition toward Jesus changes (John 3:3–5). The Holy Spirit overcomes our inborn resistance to God and draws us to Jesus (John 6:44). The Spirit removes our metaphorical heart of stone and replaces it with a heart that loves Jesus (Ezekiel 11:19; 2 Corinthians 5:17–18). The Spirit of God opens our eyes to behold the beauty of Jesus and opens our ears to hear and receive the good news concerning Jesus (Acts 26:18). It is God Himself who makes us spiritually alive and grants us the repentance and faith needed to embrace Jesus as our Lord and Savior (Ephesians 2:4–10; 2 Timothy 2:25). We receive Jesus by believing in Him and trusting that He died for our sins. The first step in loving Jesus is receiving Him as Lord and Savior.
Jesus said that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends (John 15:13). Jesus did this and more by dying for us while we were still His enemies in order to make us His friends (Romans 5:8). Much of what it means to love Jesus comes from understanding and appreciating what Jesus has done and is doing for us. We love Jesus because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). As we grow in our knowledge of who Jesus is and what He has accomplished for us, our love for Christ will continually increase (2 Peter 3:18; Colossians 1:10).
To love Jesus means to treasure Him above all things and all people (Luke 14:26; 16:13). The person that loves Jesus values Him more than anything and anyone. The disciple of Jesus must be willing to give up anything and everything, even his or her own life, in service to Him. To live for Jesus must be our greatest purpose, to be in His presence our greatest joy (Philippians 1:21; 2 Corinthians 5:8).
To love Jesus means to keep His commandments (John 14:15). His commands are not burdensome but light (1 John 5:3). For what He commands He also gives the power to perform. Jesus has sent us the Holy Spirit to teach, remind, lead, comfort, indwell, and empower us to obey His commands (John 14:15–17). By extension, we are commanded to obey the apostles' teachings as they were commissioned by Jesus Himself to teach with His authority. By obeying the commands of Jesus, we demonstrate that we love Him.
When we fail to keep Jesus' commands, we are to confess our sins and thank God for the forgiveness that we have through Jesus' sacrificial death (1 John 1:9). For Jesus is the propitiation for our sin, as well as our advocate before the Father (1 John 2:1; 4:10). Because Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead, we will live eternally in His presence, enjoying and praising Him forever (Revelation 21:3, 22–26). This, too, is what it means to love Jesus.
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