Loving Jesus Christ is a quintessential part of your Christian life and Christian theology in general. What you put focus on in your life gets magnified. When you love Jesus you experience the fullness of God. When you do not love Jesus, it shows in your relationship with others.
Loving Jesus consistently is a life-long journey. This life is full of many shiny things to throw you off track. In John 15:15-21 NIV, Jesus says:
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
When you consider Jesus' proclamation, you should feel uncomfortable. Jesus is asking you to follow His commands as a sign of your love for Him. We understand that love can not be simply conveyed with actions. Love is not simply just doing something to appease the other party.
In Pastor John Piper's piece "I Love Jesus Christ", he states that "obedience to the commandments is the result of loving Jesus, not the same as loving Jesus. Love is something invisible and inside. It is the root that produces the visible fruit of loving others."
It's important to remember that love is not seen physically. You cannot see love with your eyes. The only way we can see love for God is through its fruit -- loving others.
What Does it Mean to Love Jesus
Loving Jesus is not merely following His rules. The Pharisees abided by the law, but did not love God from their core. During Jesus' missionary, the Pharisees opposed Him at every step. They eventually pushed Him to His death on the cross.
The love for God produces the fruit of the Holy Spirit. What you love will be shown through your fruit. In Galatians 5:22-23 NIV:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
God designed love to be simple. He wants us to serve what we treasure. When you love money, you tend to neglect God for the pursuit of more money. When you love evil things, you tend to neglect the good things. In the long run, it's clear who your master is.
It's easy to hide who you truly are in the world. You can even hide from yourself. But you cannot hide from God. He will bring all things to light eventually.
You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Jesus exposed the young man when He asked the young man to give everything to the poor. While the young man thought he was obedient to God, he actually loved money more than Jesus. This happens time and time again through the Bible. Love for idols drives disobedience to God. When you truly love God, the only thing that matters to you is following God.
Through Jesus We Know Love
The Scripture provides numerous examples of love through obedience to Jesus.
In Romans 5:8 NIV:
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
In 1 John 3:16 NIV:
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
In John 15:13 NIV:
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Jesus' death on the cross is the ultimate act of love. Through the trials He endured, Jesus proved that His love was not just talk. He proved love in deed and in truth. Only through understanding sacrifice are we truly able to understand God's love. Putting your faith in Jesus means you understand His sacrificial love for you. Jesus loves you so much that He would do anything to save you.
How do you love Jesus unconditionally? By your actions. Your actions will always reveal the your true relationship with Jesus. We are all children of God. But we are all flawed in many ways. If you truly receive Jesus in your heart, your fruit will show through your obedience to Jesus' commandments. That's what it means to love Jesus. Loving God isn't easy. But taking on the spirit of God is the only thing that will radically change your life today and everyday.