Do You Love Your Jesus?
J.C. Ryle answers the question, "How do you know if you love Christ?" It is not a hard question to settle. He simply looks at how we know we love any person, and asks, "Do we love Christ like this?"
(a) If we love a person, we like to think about him. We do not need to be reminded of him. …He comes up before our mind's eye many a time in the day. …Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ! …The true Christian does not need to be reminded that he has a crucified Master. He often thinks of Him. He never forgets that He has a day, a cause, and a people, and that of His people he is one. …The true Christian has thoughts about Christ every day that he lives, for this one simple reason, that he loves Him.
(b) If we love a person… We find pleasure in listening to those who speak of him. …We are all attention when others talk about him and describe his ways, his sayings, his doings, and his plans. …Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ! The true Christian delights to hear something about his Master. He likes those sermons best which are full of Christ. He enjoys that society most in which people talk of the things which are Christ's. …
(c) if we love a person, we like to read about him. What intense pleasure a letter from an absent husband gives to a wife … They read it over and over again. Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ! The true Christian delights to read the Scriptures, because they tell him about his beloved Saviour. It is no wearisome task with him to read them. He rarely needs reminding to take his Bible with him when he goes a journey. He cannot be happy without it. And why is all this? It is because the Scriptures testify of Him whom his souls loves, even Christ.
(d) If we love a person, we like to please him. We are glad to consult his tastes and opinions, to act upon his advice, and do the things which he approves. We even deny ourselves to meet his wishes, abstain from things which we know he dislikes, and learn things to do which we are not naturally inclined, because we think it will give him pleasure. Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ! The true Christian studies to please Him, by being holy both in body and spirit. …He does not murmur at Christ's requirements as being too strict and severe, as the children of the world do. To him, Christ's commandments are not grievous and Christ's burden is light. And why is all this? Simply because he loves Him.
(e) If we love a person, we like his friends. …When we meet them there is a bond of union between us. They love the person we love, and that alone is an introduction. Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ! The true Christian regards all Christ's friends as his friends, members of the same body, children of the same family, soldiers in the same army, travelers to the same home. When he meets them, he feels as if he had long known them. He is more at home with them in a few minutes than he is with many worldly people after an acquaintance of several years. And what is the secret of all this? It is simply affection to the same Saviour, and love to the same Lord.
(f) If we love a person, we are jealous about his name and honour. We do not like to hear him spoken against without speaking up for him and defending him. …We regard the person who treats him ill with almost as much disfavour as if he had ill-treated us. Well, is just so between the true Christian and Christ. The true Christian regards with a godly jealous all efforts to disparage his Master's word, or name, or Church, or day. …He will not hold his peace and suffer his Master's cause to be put to shame without testifying against it. And why is all this? Simply because he loves Him.
(g) If we love a person, we like to talk to him. We tell him all our thoughts and pour out all our heart to him. …However silent and reserved we may be to others, we find it easy to talk to a much-loved friend. …Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ! The true Christian finds no difficulty in speaking to his Saviour. Every day he has something to tell him, and he is not happy unless he tells it. He speaks to Him in prayer every morning and night. He tells Him his wants and desires, his feelings and his fears. He asks counsel of Him in difficulty. He asks comfort of Him in trouble. He cannot help it. He must converse with his Saviour continually, or he would faint by the way. And why is this? Simply because he loves Him.
(h) Finally, if we love a person, we like to be always with him. Thinking, and hearing, and reading, and occasionally talking are all well in their way. But when we really love people we want something more. We long to be always in their company. We wish to be continually in their society, and to hold communion with them without interruption or farewell. Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ. The heart of a true Christian longs for that blessed day when he will see his Master face to face, and go out no more. He longs to have done with sinning and repenting, and believing, and to begin that endless life when he shall see as he has been seen, and sin no more. He has found it sweet to live by faith, and he feels it will be sweeter still to live by sight. He has found it pleasant to hear of Christ, and talk of Christ, and read of Christ. How much more pleasant will it be to see Christ with his own eyes, and never to leave Him any more! …And why is all this? Simple because he loves Him.
…Love to the Lord Jesus Christ is no hidden, secret, impalpable thing. It is like the light — it will be seen. It is like sound — it will be heard. It is like heat — it will be felt. Where it exists it cannot be hid. Where it cannot be seen you may be sure there is none.
Ryle, J.C. Holiness. Pg. 211-213