How do I really love Jesus? People say it’s not just a feeling, but it is proven by your actions. At ReFresh, a speaker said you can serve God even when you don’t feel close to Him, but another speaker said don’t let your love for serving Jesus be greater than your love for Jesus. I serve God a lot but sometimes it seems meaningless. Is loving Jesus greater than a feeling? Is it both a feeling and an action?
@Sgpage Good question. I think Tim Keller’s exegesis of the story of the prodigal son will really help you grasp the Biblical connection between motivation and obedience.
At a high level, we need to recognize three separate categories:
Here is a breakdown of each of these categories in the Christian life:
- our motivation is the Gospel - the love Christ showed us by giving His life
- our feelings are subject to change and can be impacted by illness, whether or not we have eaten, etc. However, the Bible does encourage us to preach to our own hearts and stir up our feelings to match the reality we experience in Christ.
- the Bible is clear, if we love God, we will obey Him. We will be imperfect in our obedience, but we will still repent of sin and seek to honor Him in all things.
In Scripture, we see a nuanced view of the connection between obedience and knowing God. Our obedience does not save us. We obey because we are know Jesus; we are not saved by our obedience.
John 14:1 - Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.
John 17:3 - Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
John 5:39-40 - You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
You may also find this post helpful. Christ grant you wisdom
Hi, @Sgpage! Thanks for inviting us to enter into your wrestlings; it’s a real privilege.
But I wanted to ask a clarifying question first. You said that you ‘serve God a lot but sometimes it seems meaningless.’ I wonder if you could shed a little light on what this means? Do you mean that you don’t feel something every time you serve God? Or that you don’t see any tangible results from the work? Or…?
I’m interested in the tension you experienced between what the two speakers said, and I’m wondering if answering the above question will help up flesh that out a bit.