Do you love me more than these?

Jesus asks Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” (John 21:15). The “more than these” is a sticky question we must all answer if we want to follow Christ. It took Peter, the one who bragged that he would not be like the others and deny Christ, denying Him three times in one night before he would realize that he loved self-preservation more than he loved Jesus. 

I’m not part of the Reformed church, or even a Calvinist (I think labels are divisive anyway), but I really liked what John Piper said in this short video clip I’ve included below. He’s talking about the things we love as followers of Jesus. Our affections can be misguided and fickle without us even realizing it. This is why we must always allow the Lover of our Soul’s penetrating gaze to reveal the deepest issues of our heart to us so that we can be transformed.

The purpose of this inquiry is so that I will learn how to love like He loves. I don’t just need the truth; I need the truth about me. For it is this truth that makes me free.

32 For if you embrace the truth, it will release more freedom into your lives.” (John 8:32 TPT)

Consider that Moses told God that he preferred the wilderness with God more than the Promised Land without Him (see Exodus 33). I must honestly ask myself, would I say the same?

Here are some issues of the heart about what we love that Piper says we that may be overlooking as devoted followers of Jesus. I’ve added a few of my own that I’ve had to honestly answer in my own life:

Do I love theology, or doing theology more than I love God?

Do I love seeking the truth more than the Truth? (John 14:6)

Do I love the Bible more than the Word? (John 1:1)

Do I love the gifts and manifestations of God’s power more than the Giver?

Do I love being right more than being loved?

Do I love “loving God” more than God?

Do I love thinking about God rather than loving God?

Do I love prayer more than communion with God?

Do I love writing about God more than God?

Do I love arguing for God more than I love God?

Do I love worship more than the One I worship?

Do I love my local church or denomination more than I love God?

Do I love my freedom in Christ more than I love God?

Of course, this list is not exhaustive, and Piper has some other important things to say about it on the video. But even though all these things we love are good things, even necessary things in the life of a believer, if we love them more than Jesus, they become idols.

What Peter found out, and what we should find out, too, is that we’ll never even know what love is until we allow God to deal with the narcissistic veneer we’ve called love, which is nothing more an image we unknowingly worship.

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 40 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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4 Responses to Do you love me more than these?

  1. KIA says:

    I would say that I still believe there may be a god, although I doubt we would ever be able to Demonstrate conclusively his/her/its existence. But after decades of valuing my ‘relationship’ with the God of the bible, I’d have to say I now love my family a whole bunch more that that mythological expression of theism.

  2. Ha! I just found another Piper article I really liked, Mel, which is funny because I generally disagree with him. And now here you are talking about Piper, too.

    So, I’m in complete agreement with your post. I’ve had to change a few things because they were kind of like idols I was putting before God. I was a real Martha once and so the Lord was like, no I just want you to rest at my feet, just like Mary does. It’s comical today, but that was some painful, painful stuff. Also pastors, church folk tend to really like their Martha’s. Martha’s often do everything that needs to be done! Just try saying no. I dare ya.

    Jesus is definitely jealous for us and that is a kindness, a matter of our own well being. The attachments we get to other things are sentimentalities, and we don’t want our attachments to them to become our identity and to begin to define us. When you lose something in your life, or everything, we need the Lord to be our rock, our central focus. He is calling us to place our eyes on Him, always, because He is unchanging, no matter what falls away or what comes our way.

    I worry about some of the reformed because they often become very intellectual, down on intuition, down on emotion, and pull away from the spiritual. Also, they tend to have all these confessionals they swear allegiance too. I’m laughing here, it’s personal thing, but I tend to be opposed to swearing allegiance to any theology that has too many syllables in it. 🙂

    • Mel Wild says:

      Good points, IB. There’s a lot I totally disagree with Piper on, but I don’t question his love for God. On that, we’re in total agreement.

      My wife is a Martha, too. And Martha’s aren’t just used in the church. They’re a good target for any public function. The other day, I heard her saying to herself, “no, no, no…” and I asked her what she was doing. She said, “I’m practicing my “no’s.” LOL! She was getting ready for a community planning event. And the thing is, she genuinely loves being involved and doing things. She just gets overwhelmed because she “gets volunteered” for too many things.

      I agree about theology getting too intellectual; of course, some go the opposite direction and that can be bad, too. I happen to be a mystic nerd, so I love both! LOL! But it’s not the intellectual aspects that fuels my passion for Christ. The best it can ever be are the “shadows” I mentioned in the last post. At the heart is the experiential reality of the relationship that’s tangibly transformational. And it needs to be that way because most people aren’t intellectual. But everyone can experience intimacy in relationship with God. It doesn’t take any syllables for that. And, even if you used syllables, it still wouldn’t explain it!

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