By Eugene E. Clark
A T.V. commercial by a manufacturer of a leading toothpaste depicts a young ski instructor in an interview. The young man is asked the question, “How is your love life?” The young man affirms that he is after all a ski instructor and that it is well known that ski instructors have it made. Under further questioning he finally breaks down and admits that things are not as they appear and he is indeed having trouble. Quite naturally the answer to his problem is to use the right brand of toothpaste and all will be well.
Along the same lines what would happen if Christians were put on the spot and asked about our Christian love lives? Would we confidently affirm that we were Christians and assert that Christians love Christ and their fellow men? Would we under closer scrutiny, have to admit that things are not quite as they appear? If this is the case a change of toothpaste certainly will not solve our problem.
Before going any further on the subject of Christian love perhaps some definitions are in order. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments” (1 John 5:3). “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). These two passages clearly teach us that we display our love for the Lord by obeying his commandments. In Matthew 22:36 Jesus is asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” His reply, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matt. 22:37), should shed some light on both the definition and importance of love.
What about our relationship with our fellow men? “And the second is like it: ‘Love your. neighbor as yourself’ ” (Matt. 22:39). “This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law” (Rom. 13:10). “For you were called to freedom brethren, only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh but through love be servants of one another” (Gal. 5:13). In Luke 6:35 we are taught to love our enemies. These passages help define our love relationships with our fellow men. These examples are by no means exhaustive as there are many more in the scriptures on the subject.
As human beings we cannot trust our subjective feelings as to what Christian love is (both toward Christ and our fellow men). Instead we must be guided by the objective instructions given to us by the author of our faith, Christ. These instructions are found only in the scriptures and are put there for our enlightenment. Our task as Christians is to acknowledge and obey. Only then do we truly love the Lord.
Truth Magazine XXI: 32, p. 507
August 18, 1977