The Christian’s Love


Charles Spurgeon once said, “Christ rightly known is most surely Christ beloved.”[1] In other words, when a man really knows Christ personally, he will love Him deeply. You show me what a person loves and I can tell you who they are.

False Marks of Love for Christ

Donald Whitney points out five characteristics of people who have a false assurance of salvation:

  1. They are either unconcerned or angry when warned about false assurance.
  2. They are either legalistic or loose with spiritual disciplines and duties.
  3. They are either very weak in or very confident of their Bible knowledge.
  4. They have either a vicarious Christianity or an overly independent
  5. They may be constantly resisting the truth or never able to come to the truth (2 Thess.2:10; 2 Tim.3:7).[2]

 Marks of a True Love for Christ

  • A sign of true love for Christ is the dedication of ourselves and all that we have and are to the Lord. (John 12:25-26)
  • A sign of true love for Christ is a carefulness and sensitivity to avoid anything that would offend Him. (Jer.32:40; Ez.36:27)
  • A sign of true love for Christ is a universal obedience to all of His known commands. What Jesus means in John 14:15 is that obedience to Him is based upon a prior love.
  • A sign of true love for Christ is a willingness to defend His honor against His enemies. (Ps.139:21-22)
  • A sign of true love for Christ is a desire to promote His cause in the world. Love for Christ cannot sit still while others perish. It influences the true Christian in such a way that he acts to spread His name both far and near.

Tests of Love for Christ

Would you be able to enjoy heaven if Christ were not there?
Would you be willing to go to hell itself if you might have Him?
Do you feel drawn out to Him in service?
Do you do things that you certainly would not do, except for His sake?
Are you glad to hear of Him in sermons or conversation?
Is there a warm feeling rising to Him at the mention of His name?
Does it cause you pain to hear evil spoken of Him?
Do you feel sorrow that you do not love Him more?

Questions to Consider

Do you share the intimacies of the Christian life with other believers? (1 John 6-7)
Do you have a deep awareness of your sin against the Word and love for God? (1 John 1:8, 10)
Do you live in conscious obedience to the Word of God? (1 John 2:2-5)
Do you despise the world and its ways? (1 John 2:15)
Do you long for the return of Jesus Christ and to be made like Him? (1 John 3:2-3)
Do you habitually do what is right more and sin less? (1 John 3:7-8, 10)
Do you sacrificially love other Christians and want to be with them? (1 John 3:14)
Do you discern the presence of the Holy Spirit within you? (1 John 3:24; 4:13)
Do you enjoy learning the doctrines taught by the Apostles of Jesus? (1 John 4:6)
Do you believe what the Bible teaches about Jesus Christ? (1 John 5:1)


[1] Charles Spurgeon, The Saint and His Savior

[2] Donald S. Whitney, How Can I Be Sure I’m a Christian?


Colonel was my most faithful childhood companion. When I was a baby, you couldn’t even peek in my bassinet without a sharp warning. As I began to walk and talk, our bond strengthened. No matter where I went or what I did, he was right there by my side and he was very particular when it came to letting people get near me. Even my mother could not discipline the “little king” without locking him in another room, for he would not hesitate to bite the hand that fed him if that hand attempted to mishandle his king. How’s that for an example of love in action?!?

Love denotes action. Just like faith, it is active. It hears the command and it obeys (John 15:12-13). Only this type of love results in action that compels a believer to follow the King of kings and to love others sacrificially (Matthew 22:36-40; 1 John 4:20). Without selfless love, all gifts, beliefs, and acts are useless (1 Corinthians 13:2). It can be in our nature to reciprocate after our needs and desires are met. When God blesses us or favorably answers a prayer, we tend to be more intentional about praising and worshipping Him. Unsolicited kindness and grace are not extended enough to the people in our lives before they dote and love on us first. Behaving in this manner is contrary to Scripture. It is selfish, not selfless.

My German Shepherd, Colonel, always faithfully loved me. Even more so, our love should be instinctual, readily seen, and ready to act without hesitation. Be encouraged to demonstrate your faith with this purposeful and powerful love (Proverbs 3:3-4; Romans 12:9; 1 Corinthians 16:14). It is a gift from the Father that can be inexhaustibly shared with Him and others (1 John 4:19). Although we will never perfectly express this God-like virtue on Earth, we can rejoice in knowing that we will know no bounds in Heaven.


Where’s the Love?

If you’re a guy like me, there are probably many humorous images or past examples that you can point to when you hear the words, “Where’s the love?” We use this expression in a number of different situations. It can be used when you make a sarcastic, albeit timely, comment that is under appreciated, or when you accomplish something significant in the presence of your friends that you think deserves commendation that isn’t given. It is at that point that you subtlety help your friends try to appreciate what they are clearly not appreciating by saying, “Where’s the love?”

All kidding aside, these are the last words you want to hear in the family context. What this means that is we need to learn how to love our spouses and our children. You’ve probably heard of the Five Love Languages. This is how they look in my family.

My wife’s love language is acts of service. The interesting thing about acts of service is that it manifests in so many different ways, from the minuscule to the magnificent. From her perspective, it simply denotes teamwork and gives her a sense of connectedness. I have to keep reminding myself of that. It gives her a sense of being appreciated when I invest time in doing things that are important to her. This is her way of feeling loved.

My son’s love languages are words of affirmation and quality time. There is a significant change in his attitude, a willingness to please, and an overall disposition change when he is being encouraged. Quality time also ranks right up there, so long as the time is free of instruction or teaching. I’m still learning that there is time for practice and instruction and I have to remember how to separate the two so that we can just hang out and enjoy each other’s company.

One of my daughter’s love languages is quality time. We have a nightly routine after our devotional where we spend focused time talking, acting out various characters that we’ve created over the years, and just spending time together. These are very precious, creative times of bonding. Her other love language is receiving gifts. She loves to receive pretty much anything with sugar.

The point is this. God exhibited no restraint in order to demonstrate His love towards us (Rom.5:1). His actions were purposeful, awful, and extreme in order that man might not question His love, His loyalty, or His commitment to him. The giving of His beloved Son to be a sacrifice for our sins was motived by love. If God is willing to do this for us, shouldn’t we also seek to understand how we might love those around us? What sacrifices of time, effort, or gifts are too much to show those whom God has given us that they are loved? Show your family that you love them, for they are a gift from God!



Love, Anxiety, and Finances

Last February, I took stock of my love for Christ by examining how much of my thoughts and activities were occupied with Him in comparison to material possessions. I found that, while this fruit of the Spirit was present in my life, my affections were too often tied to temporal things, including “stuff.”

When I think about love and its relationship to finances this year, one convicting term immediately comes to mind: anxiety.

Anxiety is an issue repeatedly addressed in Scripture. We are cautioned to be anxious for nothing, told that we cannot serve both God and money, admonished that anxiety will not enrich our lives or add to our lifespan, and reassured that God will provide for our needs as we seek His kingdom and righteousness. I am familiar with these passages, and you might be too. So then, why do I struggle with anxiety when it comes to material things? It’s not because God’s Word is vague. It’s not because I love feeling anxious. I think it may be that I love comfort, and when I feel that my comfort is being threatened, I start to worry. I’ve never been hungry for lack of food. I’ve never been without shelter, nor without a host of other items that would be considered luxuries to many people. God has proven Himself to be faithful without exception and exceedingly generous to me. Yet, when appliances break down, clothes wear and get holes, and income is delayed, God’s faithfulness is the farthest thing from my mind. Without fail, I get anxious, wondering if this is the time we won’t be able to pay our bills. In my heart, this translates to questioning, “Is this the time God is going to forsake me?”

I’m not suggesting that anyone who struggles with anxiety does not love God. I do love God, and I want to obey His command to be “anxious for nothing.” To do this, I need to pray that God would remind me of the love poured out at Calvary’s cross, which is infinitely more valuable than any feeling of temporal comfort or security. I need to confess my anxiety to Him and trust Him to grow me in believing that He knows my needs and will provide for them all. Loving God means submitting to Him my own ideas of what my needs are and letting Him cut away things that draw me away from Him. Loving God means recognizing that my ties to material things are stronger than I’d like to admit and imploring God to help me not love the world, nor the things of the world.

Lord God, I love you. Please help me to love you more. I do not want to love things that thieves can steal and moths and rust can destroy. Work Your will in my heart that I may seek Your kingdom and righteousness and not material security. Amen.