When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, it is because the Holy Spirit has convicted us of sin and led us to believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. We are convinced that God loved us and sent His Son to be our substitute, taking the wrath of God that we deserve upon Himself. How amazing is God’s love for us!
The Bible emphasizes the love of God as one of God’s motives (God’s glory being another) for sending Jesus to die for us.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten
son . . ."
I John 3:16 “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down
his life for us . . ."
I John 4:10 “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us,
and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we
were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
God’s love did not stop at the cross. He loves those who believe on Jesus with the love of a father for his child (Hebrews 12:5,6) and the love of a husband for his wife (Ephesians 5:25,32). Believers are sons of God (I John 3:1), and the church is the bride of Christ (John 3:29; Revelation 21:9). His love is enduring, so that nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38,39).
Our relationship with God all started because He loved us. If we want to effectively serve Him, our motive must be that we love Him. Paul said, “the love of Christ constraineth us” (II Corinthians 5:17). While we are serving our Lord, His love keeps us in line. John said, “we love him, because he first loved us” ( I John 4:19). His love for us prompts our love for Him. John also said that loving the Lord will keep us from loving the world (I John 2:15), will assure that we love fellow Christians (I John 4:11-12: 3:15-18; 5:1), and produce obedience to His commandments (I John 2:5; John 14:15,21, 23).
Our reason and motivation for serving the Lord should be because we love Him. Other motivations, such as reward, peace of mind, approval of man, or fear of the Lord’s chastening fall short of what our Lord desires. God wants us to serve Him, because we love Him. Our love for the Lord will grow as we learn more of His love for us. Therefore, the Bible must be read and studied, because it is the only source of truth concerning His love for us. The more we know Him, the more we love Him.
It is possible to do many good things for Jesus, and yet fail to please Him because we were not motivated by love for Him. The church of Ephesus was known for its patience, rejection of evil, and labor for Jesus’ sake. This is all good, but they were in danger of having their candlestick (witness, usefulness) removed. That was because Jesus said, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love” (Revelation 2:2-4).
May we grow in our love for Him. This will assure service from the correct motivation.