In relationships there is often the questioning thought of “Do they really love me?”, “Do they really care about me?”, or “Am I important to them?”  I am certain that there are many dating couples who are trying to determine if the emotions they are feeling are true love and does the other person truly love me?  What are the determining factors to determine true love?  Can we determine that true love is present by the pounding of the heart or by the starry gaze in the person’s eyes?  Is there some hidden “chemistry” in the relationship, is it determined by the sweaty palms of the hand?  Perhaps the secret of knowing if you are truly loved is found in the words of the old Shoop Shoop song “If you wanna know, if he loves you so, its in his kiss.”  Though the answer to these questions can be important perhaps a similarly important question would be, “How can we tell if they love others?”  At one point in Jesus’ ministry He was asked about what are the first of the commandments, to which Jesus responded that we are to love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and our neighbour as ourself (Mark 12:28-31).

In 1 John 5:2 we are told that “we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.”  Our love for others is seen by whether we love God and keep His commandments.   You may ask, “How does keeping God’s commandments indicate a love for others?”  Consider this.   When the rich ruler came to Jesus and asked what he needed to do to inherit eternal life, Jesus asked him to keep a list of commandments,  “‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’” (Mark 10:19)  In response the man said that he had kept all these commandments.  Though he had kept this list, interestingly Jesus had left out one of the 10 commandments, “Thou shalt not covet”.   This is where the rich man’s love for the poor and others failed.  He loved riches, he loved the benefits from money more than he was willing to share with others.

True love is shown by our keeping all the commandments.  One is free to show true love when covetousness is not present in their lives. The extent to which a person is caught up with the things around them and in their own selfish desires, to that extent they are not able to truly love.  They cannot sacrifice for others because such sacrifice would be at the expense of what is really near to their hearts and true love must be willing and able to sacrifice.  “Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Eph 5:2”

Are your thoughts and life caught up the things around you, possessions and money.  Are you willing and able to sacrifice these things for others?  Lord help us to show love through hearts that are free from selfish desires.