My four year old son is very sweet. He can be a bit sour too, but very often he is super sweet. Regularly, he will stop whatever he is doing, turn towards my wife or I and just blurt out, “Mommy, I love you. Daddy, I love you.” He really means it.
What is tough is when he does this and then his very next act is one of rebellion or mischief. He will shower us with words of love, but then disobey us with his actions.
In the gospel this Sunday Jesus says, “Whoever loves me will keep my word.” I think Jesus is demonstrating a reality to this life. To really love someone is more than just words. To love someone is more than a feeling or a sentiment. Love isn’t just black and white. We can love well or love poorly. We can love to a greater degree and to a lesser degree.
When my son says he loves me, but then blatantly and purposefully disobeys me, he is just being a normal four year old. What is it when I act this way towards God?
I tell God I love him all the time. I pray using words of adoration. I say all the right things. Then I turn around disobey God. Maybe you do this too.
Love is more than words. Love is an action. If we are going to love God, we must, not only say the words, but do the deeds. We don’t earn God’s love, but if we really do love God, then we must act like it. Otherwise, I think we have to examine how genuine our love is. In other words, if I say I love God, but I don’t act like I do, do I?
The growth mindset version of that same question might be a little different. If we want to love God well, how can our actions reflect our desire. In other words, how can our behavior more perfectly demonstrate what we believe.
Jesus himself said that the way that will show our love for him is by doing what he says. Obedience, no natural rebel’s favorite word, is one way to love well. Do you love God? Do you do what he says? If you answered Yes and then No, you have something to work on, like the rest of us.
Live It: Take 5 minutes this weekend to think about your 3 highest values. What are the animating beliefs by which you live your life. Now ask someone else in your life to write 3 highest values based only on what they can observe from your life. Do they match up?