Whom Do You Love?
" ‘He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.' " -John 14:21, emphasis added
When I was engaged to my wife, Bonnie, I was not in America most of those months. I spent ninety-six days touring forty-two countries. Everywhere I checked into a hotel, I went to the manager's desk and gave them my name. They would look me over, and then pull out a letter for me; Bonnie had found me in the most remote parts of the world. I dropped my baggage to the floor, and sat down wherever I was to read her letter. It did not matter to me whether I found my room or not--I read the letter from the one I loved.
Do you know that you have a letter waiting for you every day from your Beloved One? Have you dropped your "baggage" lately because you long for the One you love? As a godly marriage brings the most precious joys we can know on this planet, so does a genuine relationship with Jesus. It gets sweeter as the years go by! That is why I love to get to know saints who have been in love with Jesus for a long, long time. They have discovered the great joys of living by Matthew 22:37: "Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' "
Now we come to the wedding banquet in Revelation 19-the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. But what can we bring to the Lamb as a wedding gift? What gift is worthy of giving to our Beloved at our wedding celebration? How can we express our love to the One who loved us so much that He gave His very life for us?
When I am out shopping with Bonnie, we often meet people who are shopping for baby showers, bridal showers, weddings, and so forth. Most people are very particular about what they buy for those they love. And the greater the love, the more particular they are in the choice of their gift. They want it to be special, useful, and needed, and even want to wrap it to show how important it is. Have you ever thought that you are going to get to give something to Jesus? Do you know what He wants? He has completed His wedding registry in His Word.
Have you been listening to what He says He loves and wants so much? There are at least ten elements of daily life that He will reward whenever He sees them in us. Do you know what they are? Are you practicing these reward-getters at every opportunity?
First let me sketch them; and then we can ponder ways to seek for Christ's "Well done!" Most importantly, Jesus loves to see His character reflected in us. How? Here are the first two of the ten elements that represent the gift He desires from each of us.
Element 1-Christlike Disposition in Adversity: " ‘Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you' " (Matthew 5:11-12). When you are attacked, maligned, or defrauded in any way, remember Stephen. Where did he look for an example? He looked at and followed the example of Jesus!
Element 2-Christlike Secrecy in Spiritual Disciplines: " ‘But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. And when you pray, . . . go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. . . . Moreover, when you fast, . . . anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly' " (Matthew 6:3, 16-18).
Jesus loves for us to do secret and sacrificial things-and to be excited to do them even though no one finds out. Start acting like Jesus did. He went out to commune before day sometimes. He stayed up all night in prayer other times. The key to success is to have an unbelievable longing for God!
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