For some reason, this question “Do I love Jesus?” has really intimidated me at times. My perfectionism rises strongly within me in regard to that question. I review all the ways I don’t obey or act as God would want, and it feels like my “love” level for Jesus dips to nothing.

And then I view the word “love” and think of feelings. Do I feel love for Christ? It “feels” like I don’t. I must review the truth that love is more than a feeling; it is a choice.

So today as I’m reading J.C. Rylie’s book Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots, Dr. Rylie talks about the ways we know if we love Jesus. Here’s his main points with his quotes:
1. We will think about Jesus. “The true Christian does not need to be reminded that he has a crucified Master. He often thinks of Him.”
2. We like to hear about him. “We find a pleasure in listening to those who speak of him.”
3. We like to read about him. “The true Christian delights to read the Scriptures, because they tell him about his beloved Savior.”
4. We like to please him. “We are glad to consult his tastes and opinions. to act upon his advice, and do the things which he approves.”
5. We like his friends. “We are drawn to them by the common tie of common love to one and the same person…There is a bond of union between us.”
6. We are jealous about his name and honor. “We do not like to hear him spoken against without speaking up for him and defending him.”
7. We like to talk to him. “We tell him all our thoughts, and pour out all our heart to him.”
8. We like to be with him. “The heart of a true Christian longs for that blessed day when he will see his Master face to face, and go out no more.”

I usually don’t like lists of “requirements” because my perfectionism, as I said, kicks in and it feels like I don’t do ANYTHING! But that’s not the purpose of this list. It’s to give us pause and I really think we’ll find that the desire of our heart is for all those things, though imperfectly. I’ll never measure up to perfection, but I know sincerely that each of those eight items is true in my life. And then I can (and you can) seek to improve little by little.

Pastor Rylie continues, “…if you do not love Christ, let me tell you plainly what is the reason. You have no sense of debt to Him. You have no feeling of obligation to Him. You have no abiding recollection of having got anything from Him. This being the case it is not likely, it is not probable, it is not reasonable that you should love Him.”

The degree that you and I are grateful for what Jesus did for us, will determine the degree of our love for Him. Jesus said about the woman who was “a sinner” and poured expensive perfume on him: “her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:47.)

Yet, somehow it feels selfish to love out of gratitude. Doesn’t that make it all about me? Shouldn’t I just love Him without any other motivation? Thankfully, I John 4:19 tells us, “We love, because He first loved us.” It’s to be expected that we’ll love Him out of gratitude for His love and sacrifice. God graciously gives us plenty of motivation to love Him. Isn’t that wonderful?

How’s your love level for Jesus? How can we rejoice in the ways we do love Him and how can we grow more deeply in love with Him? Which of the eight ways do you see in your life most strongly and which of the eight ways do you want to grow more in? If you are weak in an area, reflect upon how much Jesus has done for you. Our love for Him must increase as we concentrate on our wonderful undeserved blessings.