Step 6: The Test of Love
My dear friend, when you reach this step, you’re nearly home! This is the final step before the great Homecoming, but it’s not an easy one. In all the epic love stories there is always some test of love. In the same way, your love for Jesus must be tested.
You see, God must know that you want Him because you love Him; not just because He’s rich and you’ll live eternally in a mansion and walk on streets of gold. Your love for Him is shown in how you keep His commandments (John 14:15, 21; 1 John 5:3; 2 John 6). Remember I said earlier that obedience is important? This is why.
God’s law (the commandments) is His character. Everything it in points to the loving, just, and merciful God that He is. His law is who He is. That’s why keeping it is important.
Now, you might be frustrated and wondering, “How can I keep all God’s commandments? Some are easy enough, but others are so hard for me. Nobody’s perfect. No one can keep the whole law. Why did God make the test so difficult?”
Well, clearly none of us can keep all of God’s commandments on our own. Our greatest efforts are pitiful and our willpower is weak. But with Jesus’ help, anyone can keep all of them. Remember, I told you that God’s law is His character? And do you also remember that you must develop a character like His? Well, guess what? That’s the key! God wants to write His law on your heart. God’s law will be in you! (Jeremiah 31:33.) It will be your character, a part of who you are, seen in the way you live!
Some people will tell you that this is impossible because they’ve never seen a person who never, ever sinned anymore after coming to God. Well, check out the book of 1 John. God’s Word makes it clear that we should live our daily lives in the way that Jesus has revealed to be right. This is the essence of walking in the light. It’s all about obedience to His Word, the day-to-day, moment-by-moment choices to follow in your Savior’s footsteps.
So Jesus invites us all to be reborn, to start our lives afresh with Him, walking in His light. As long as you are walking in that heavenly light, you can’t stumble. But if somewhere down the road, you walk away from the light and choose to do your own thing, don’t stay in your fallen state and continue living in sin. Repent! Run straight back into the arms of the One who loves you and gave His life for you! He will forgive you, clean you up again, and put you back on the lighted path.
So putting the two concepts together, when you walk in obedience to Jesus, you are developing His character. His law is being written on your heart. Your heart is being knit together with His heart, the natural result of love which is displayed in obedience (John 14:15). And this is what puts you on the enemy’s radar.
You see, the enemy has created his own counterfeit of God’s law, a false law that reflects his own selfish, cruel, and evil character. In this test, he will try to persuade you that his counterfeit law is superior to God’s true law. He’ll come at you with lying arguments and fake miracles, and if all else fails, he’ll resort to force. He will even go so far as to take your very life if you won’t follow his law.
Yes, your love for Jesus will be tried in the fires of some very hard experiences. Jesus spoke of those who love Him being arrested, beaten, persecuted, and even killed by those who have chosen to follow the enemy and his laws (Matthew 10:17-22; Matthew 24:9, 10). Some of the persecutors you face may even be people you once cherished as close friends, or even family (Mark 13:12). They will hate you because you love Jesus, and you will feel it keenly (Mark 13:13). Jesus never sugar-coated this bitter reality; but He did include a beautiful promise to all who would be faithful to Him even it means dying for their faith. “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:10, NKJV. Jesus won’t leave you to face this alone. He said, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20, NIV. So be strong! Hold on to your faith and keep trusting your Savior to keep you to the end, because the reward is totally worth it!