People say that God loves them, but how many people feel or experience the love of God in his or her life on a daily or weekly basis?
Jesus said in John 15: 9-11 (English Standard Version), "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."
Love for Jesus shows itself by obedience to the Word of God. May we also say that obedience to God opens up more of the "experience" of God's love in one's life?
People say that God loves them or God is love, but do they feel the love of God? Someone who feels the love of God obeys God's Word and in doing that, they experience full joy.
The great Puritan pastor Jonathan Edwards wrote, "you cannot separate happiness from obedience. Happiness does not come from the gratification of one's selfish instincts, but rather from one's desire to bless others and please the Lord."
If Edwards is right and if Jesus really does intend that his creatures experience full joy, then the American pursuit of happiness is shallow.
Will I really feel the love of God in my life if obedience to the will of God is my pursuit? Is there joy in feeling loved? When I feel loved by my wife there is joy for me. How much more joy must there be if I feel the love of God?
Edwards said that, "happiness is doing the will of God, for the will of God always yields the glory of God." What is the will of God? It is God's revealed purposes and desires in the Bible. When one obeys God by loving His Son and following His Word, one glorifies the Lord and tastes the sweetest and richest happiness that can be known to man.
Are you pursuing the full joy that Jesus desires for His children? You can begin to do this when you know and obey the will and Word of God.
• Ben Fleming is the pastor of Silver Hills Community Church.