All of you who have had a dog as a companion have no doubt been licked on the face, licked on the hands, etc. You have also most likely been the recipient of those “puppy dog” eyes… you know that “look” of: “Why don’t you give me that treat ‘cause if you don’t, I might just melt away right here on the ground in front of you.”
I grew up having two amazing dogs in particular, as companions. I was very aware and thankful for the companionship and service that my dogs provided for me. I’m also thankful for the companionship and service other dogs provide for mankind.
However, it seems obvious that a dog does not choose to love you. It may feel like a dog chooses to love you but really he has just been programmed by his Creator to be “your best friend”, and again, the Creator did an amazing job at that!
Although you may find comfort in having a dog by your side or asleep at the foot of your chair or bed, that comfort does not reach as deep into your soul as when your child, your parent, or your spouse gives you a big hug and says, “I love you.”
Why is this? Because that person is making a choice to hug you and tell you that they love you.
Now just because people can make you a lot madder than a dog ever could, that is no excuse to say you cannot receive deep affection from them. As a matter of fact, just the reality that people do make you so mad and/or sad, much more than animals,proves that you have a much deeper emotional connection to people than you do to animals.
A Choice to Love God
When it comes to us loving God, He wants the same deep love from us that we receive from each other.
How did He accomplish this?
In the Garden of Eden the Lord gave Adam and Eve a choice. They could choose to obey God’s commandment to not eat of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, or they could listen to Satan and do what he said.
Of course it hurts God when we choose to disobey Him. But on the contrary, when we choose to love Him through our obedience, He receives a far greater love from us than if we were pre-programmed to just obey Him without choice.
It is fairly obvious that God did not pre-program Adam and Eve to obey His commandment to abstain from eating the fruit of the forbidden tree.
Obedience to the Gospel
God tells us to obey His commandment to believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ.
“And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment” (1 John 3:23).
“Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith” (Romans 1:5).
“But they have not all obeyed the gospel” (Romans 10:16a).
Again, it all points back to the Garden of Eden.
God gave the first human beings on earth a choice to make, and, all human beings on earth since Adam and Eve still have to make the same choice: to obey or not obey the commandments of God (1 John 3:23).
How can people choose something that has already been chosen for them? Where is the obedience in that? Where is the choice in that?
Obey: 1. Comply with the command, direction, or request of (a person or a law); submit to the authority of.
2. Carry out (a command or instruction): “the officer was convicted for refusing to obey orders”.
So you see, we do actually have a choice to make as to whether we will obey or disobey God, to love Him or reject Him.
By the way, fairy tales and Hollywood have got love all wrong. You do not need to “search” for “true love.” Love is not something to be found, it is something to be chosen.
“True” love is a commitment, especially when things aren’t perfect.
The obedience is in your acting upon the faith the Lord has given you.
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 and 2 Thessalonians 2:10 make it clear that the responsibility lies with all mankind to “receive” the love of the truth.
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).
How does God “draw” us to Him?
Through His creation:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20).
And through the cross:
“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” This He said, signifying by what death He would die” (John 12:32-33).
(By the way, Jesus did not say that all who are drawn to Him would actually come to Him.)
Your faith will grow as your patience and obedience grow. The Lord will reward you with more faith as a result of your obedience.
“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly” 2 Thessalonians 1:3).
Receive His sacrifice
Just because you “cannot save yourself, only God can” does not mean that you cannot be obedient to God and accept His sacrifice for you. Accepting His sacrifice does not equal you saving yourself. You did not live a perfect and sinless life and die at Cavalry, God did.
He only requires you to obey His commandment to “believe”.
That is why God has not, as of yet, purged all the evil from the earth because if He did, He would simultaneously be removing the freedom of choice: the freedom to choose to love evil or love Him!
Jesus defeated evil at Calvary and He will destroy evil “in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:5).
Have you made the choice to love Him and receive His love and sacrifice for you?
A “day of wrath and revelation” might just be tomorrow.
Please choose wisely.