When you ask the question, “Do You Love Me?” you immediately realize that this is a question directed at the heart. What you may not realize is that it’s always been about the heart—from the beginning of time.
You see, throughout the Bible, God has always been concerned about our heart attitude toward Him.
Throughout the Bible
Adam and Eve
It was about the heart in the Old Testament as far back as the Beginning. When God created Adam and Even back in the garden, the test was the Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil1 but at the root of the test was whether or not the two first people would want to serve and love God first and foremost, or whether they would pursue their own way.
Their true heart attitude was on display when they were confronted with their sin. Instead of acknowledging their sin and seeking to make right with God, they sought to shift the blame to someone else. One wonders what would have happened had they sought forgiveness instead of making excuses!
God has an interesting commentary about people at the time right before the flood. It’s not just that they were sinners, selfishly looking after pleasure. Of course, they were that too. God’s commentary is that “every imagination of the thoughts of their heart was only evil continually.” Their heart did not want to do right, so they weren’t looking to do right.
In all of the earth, only a few short generations after Adam, God could only find one man and his family that did seek God. He was not perfect, but he longed after God, and God saved Noah and his family from the destruction of the Earth.
Saul and Samuel
The Amalekites were a bad bunch of people—marauders. As the children of Israel were leaving Egypt headed toward Canaan, the Amalekites attacked them, and God told them that they would be judged—utterly destroyed.
However, in God’s mercy, they were given multiple years before that happened. It wasn’t until the time of King Saul that God finally judged the people, and He gave Saul a specific command: kill all of them. From the smallest to the greatest, there was to be nothing left of this people.
Saul didn’t comply, and God sent Samuel to take the kingdom away from Saul. However, Samuel also rebuked Saul, telling him “To obey is better than sacrifice.” In essence, he was saying, your heart’s desire for obedience would have been better than sacrificing the animals you saved from this king when. Your heart is more important than you deeds.
David was a man after God’s own heart. Not that he was sinless. When it comes to the “big sins” of the Bible, David’s sin with Bathsheba is one that is remembered. David was where he shouldn’t have been and he did what he shouldn’t have did.
But the sin isn’t why he’s given such a great title. It’s not because of his slaying Goliath. It’s because he saw sin as God saw it. He broke to pieces when confronted with his sin, and pleaded God for change.
The Greatest Commandments
In the New Testament, when the religious leaders of the day were trying to trip Jesus up, they thought that they could get Him to make a mistake by placing one commandment over the other, when they were all in force. So, they set Him up, asking Him what the “greatest commandment” was. Jesus, knowing their intents, but also the Word of God responded, “To love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.”
Even the second, “Love your neighbor as yourself” contains a heart action—we are to love God and others.
Sermon on the Mount
In what was surely surprising for those in attendance, Jesus’ most famous sermon talked about the heart as being the key to living right and being blessed. Each one of the “Beatitudes” or blessings that are found at the beginning of Matthew 5 have to deal with the inner person.
And then when you get into the portion after that, you see that for every commandment that is listed, Jesus talks about how it is not enough to simply obey the commandment, but that your heart has to be right in that area as well. It’s not enough to not kill, you have to not hate. It’s not enough to not commit adultery, you have to not even lust.
You see, from the very beginning of the Bible until the end, it’s always been about the heart. It’s always been about how our heart loves Him, how it believes Him, etc. That’s key to understanding this question of “Do you Love me?”
- Which was not an apple!