What Do You Love?

In Christian circles we probably pay the most attention to two questions when it comes to our personal lives: What do you believe? and What do you do?

These are perfectly appropriate questions. The call of the gospel goes out and it asks the most important question we will answer: what do you believe? Do you believe in God’s promises? Do you believe that Christ paid for your sins?

The second question is (or at least should be) connected to the first. What does your life look like? What do you spend your time doing? The book of James (2:14 among others) makes it clear that these questions are connected. Our acts do not save us and they do not cause us to believe rightly. But they are the fruit, the evidence of right belief.

Today, I propose another question: What do you love? Here’s a quick list of some of the things I love, in no particular order:

My wife, poker, my cats, basketball, fishing, reading, peanut butter m&m’s, grilling, college football, golf, flowers, peanut butter-and-jelly, students that are hurting…oh, yeah, and God.

After Christ’s resurrection, this was his main concern when speaking to the apostle Peter. We see this conversation in John 21:15-17:

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

When we read Peter’s frustration in verse 17, we are sympathetic. After all, he’s answered the exact same question twice already. But Jesus is persistent. Why? Because only days earlier, when put in a tough situation, Peter’s actions didn’t portray his love for Christ. Instead, he denied Christ three times. There is also another truth here: what we love governs what we do.

Christ was persistent in asking Peter what he loved because he knows we must do the same. We must awake every day and ask ourselves over and over again, what do I love? What should I love? Do my actions, or lack of actions, shed any light on what I love?

When we take stock of our lives in this way, we inevitably fall short. I spend my time in ways that show where my love is wrongly placed. I act in many ways that deny my love for Christ.

So I ask us all again: what do you love?

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