Do I really love Jesus? What would be an indicator that can show me how much I love him?
My love for Jesus is not measured in the success of my ministry or the extraordinary God experiences I may have. Those are nothing but the direct result of God’s immeasurable love and mercy for us. God gives himself to us in a measure that we are completely unworthy of. God’s love is not a reciprocation of what we do to him. We are incapable of doing any Good work except when he does it in us and through us. How then will I know how much I love Jesus?
In our spiritual life, we do many things as part of a routine. If not as a routine, we could be doing them for the love of self and justification of self. As we know one Holy Mass is powerful enough to transform a person into the likeness of Christ. One confession is enough to make us as pure as I ought to be. But we walk out of every Mass pretty much the same way. Sometimes some thoughts or feelings may linger for a while but they soon fade off into oblivion. That would mean the Holy Masses I participate in, or the Confessions I make does not give me an indication of how much I love Jesus.
I may have a Word of God on my lips for anyone who comes to me, or have prophecies for those who come to me for help. I may sing in angelic voices or write like a veteran theologian. I may receive a standing ovation after every one of my speeches, I may be a living saint in the eyes of those around me but these things are seldom an indication of how much I love for Jesus.
Think about it. Strip yourself off everything that God is doing in your life. That is His business. Let God do what He wants with us. He loves us because He owns us. For in him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).
Our fallen nature has presented us a weakened self. We are being tempted in every way throughout our days. At the doorstep of every sin, I’m given the freedom to choose Good or Evil. We know the consequence of the choices we make. One choice leads to life and the other to death. The evil I choose leads not only to the death of my own soul but the death of a member of the body of Christ. It is a part of the Body of Christ that is being annihilated because of the wrong choice I make. Christ’s body is not independent of His person. He is his body. He and his body are united in a one flesh union just as our head is united to the rest of the body. Every sin cuts us off from the vine i.e. Jesus – the head of my body. He says: apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5).
In the lives of saints we see them undertaking acts of mortification. These acts properly understood are not self mutilation but a sincere effort from their part to consciously wrestle against the power of the sinful nature within that compels us to sin. Acts of mortification we privately undertake is a way of announcing to ourselves that we choose life in God over the satisfaction of our carnal desires which kills my body and soul.
Then, the true indicator of my love for Jesus can be measured by the sincerity of the effort I put in to completely uproot sin from my life. The problem of sin exists not in my body, or in the world or because of Satan. It exists deep in my heart. The efficacy of the grace of God that redeems and transforms our heart is proportional to the genuine desire I have, the sincere effort I put in and the tireless perseverance I resort to, in order to avoid sin starting with the ones I fall into most frequently.
Do I really love Jesus? Or should we ask; do I really love myself? If I love myself, I would not choose sin. I love Jesus therefore I love myself.