Do You Love Me?
You may recall that Jesus asked Peter this question after his resurrection. It appears to be a simple enough question and Peter tried to answer it simply as well. He said, "Lord, you know that I love you." But as we look at this question a little more closely we find that God established a standard by which we can measure the extent of our love for him. The love that God is looking for contains at least the following four elements.
(1) It is all encompassing. In Mark 12:28-30 (NIV) we read, "One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'"
(2) It absolutely must be expressed in obedience. In John 14:23-24 (NIV) Jesus said, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching."
(3) It needs to be expressed in our worship. That is what worship is all about. It is the expression of love and gratitude to the Lord.
(4) It must be expressed horizontally as well as vertically. 1 John 4:20-21 (CSBBible) says, "If anyone says, "I love God," and yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And we have this command from him: The one who loves God must also love his brother and sister."
Based on this standard I believe that we should again consider his question "Do you love me?"