In John 21:15-17, we hear Jesus asking Simon Peter, “Do you love me?” When Peter predictably says, “Yes Lord, You know that I love You,” I’m sure we’ve often placed ourselves into the story and stood right alongside Peter in his response. But have you noticed what Jesus’ next words were? He says, “Feed my sheep.”
John Piper writes, “Love for God is a matter of the heart’s esteem for God before it produces anything else.” But how can we do this? How can we love God as we ought?
Look at all that God has orchestrated in history to reveal Himself.
Look at Jesus Christ, and the splendor that He enjoyed before He condescended to us.
Look at the glory of His unheralded coming.
Look at the sacrificial nature of His servanthood and suffering on our behalf.
Look at the holy mixture of mercy and wrath and justice of God mingled on the cross for totally undeserving sinners.
Look at the power and righteousness that the Father wielded in His hands to raise the Son of God from the grave.
Look at the new-covenant, promise-keeping faithfulness that pours out the Holy Spirit on wholly unworthy people.
Look at the triumph of God’s marvelous grace to change our hostility to humility.
At its essence true worship is a passionate love for God, not moralistic rule keeping or feats of self-discipline. For sinners like us, the fuel of that love is a profound realization, in the words of former slave trader-turned-pastor, John Newton, “that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour.” 1
1Jonathan Aitken, John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2007), 347.