When I was little several of my relatives would play that familiar game with me — the one where they make a space between their hands and ask, “Do you love me this much?” They would increase the space between their hands and ask again, “How about this much?” If I kept answering, yes, until their arms were stretched out as wide as possible, the arms would then encircle me in a hug.
Now the game makes me think of Jesus with His holy arms stretched out and nailed to the cross. He loves us that much – as far as a man can reach – to the death.
How much do we love Jesus? Even though some people might be uncomfortable with the asking, it’s an important question.
It matters a lot to Jesus what we love and how much we love it. Our love is gauged by Jesus – more zealous, less zealous, stronger, weaker.
One time Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me more than these?” Another time Jesus said the first two commandments are to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbors as ourselves. I take that to mean we should love God even more than we love our neighbors. He also taught, (Matthew 10:37) “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
As humans we are built to love and feel passionately about this and that, him and her. But nothing should approach the intensity of devotion that the Lord gets from us. In fact, it should be very apparent that we followers of Christ love Him the most. How do your loves rank?
Love is not really measured between our hands like you measure a large mouth bass from Coan Pond. Rather, I think love is measured by preference and zeal. Jesus said to one church, “You have left your first love.” It seems their love had been demoted to lower importance. Uh, oh!
Dear Lord, thank You for helping us to love in a godly way. Because of You, we love all these more: our families, our friends, our country, our work, and so many other people and things. But, oh, Lord, help us to love You, and only You, beyond measure.