14 Fruits/Tests Of Our Love To God
There is a transcendent privilege for those that love God and are savingly called (Rom. 8:28). This mind-boggling privilege is that God makes all things work together for good! This is the exclusive reality for those that love God! In the preface of his book, Thomas Watson states:
“To know that nothing hurts the godly, is a matter of comfort; but to be assured that ALL things which fall out shall cooperate for their good, that their crosses shall be turned into blessings, that showers of affliction water the withering root of their grace and make it flourish more; this may fill their hearts with joy till they run over.”
Watson wants to make sure that we truly are happy in God and know this good. He longs for us to know at our very root that we love God so that we may enjoy this assurance that all things work for good. In the previous chapter, he gave the nature, ground, kinds, properties, and degrees of this love. Now, in chapter 5 he gives a way by which we may test it.
If God has called and placed His love on you, there will be fruit. Watson gives 14 fruits or signs of love to God:
- Do I delight in thinking about Him? He is our treasure, and where are treasure is, there is the heart. This is not the delight of the world, it is unique to His people. Psalm 10:4 states, “In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.” The treasure is not ultimately that God works all things for our good. The good treasure is that we get Him! The fruit of love is delight.
- Do I prize communion with Him? Lovers can do without a lot of things, but they will not want to be apart from each other for long. They will cry out for rich communion (Ps. 143:7). What do we say about those that live their life just fine without God?
- Do I grieve over my unkindness to Him? There will be times of neglect, indifference, and rebellion against Him. This grieves the Lord. Would we laugh at the sin that he bled for? A godly grief for sin is a fruit of love for Him. Sometimes the sign of a heart of love is one that gets broken in tears (Matt. 26:75).
- Do I ever stand up for Him and His character? Do I have the courage to speak and act for His namesake? Love turns venom into valor and cowardice into courage (Acts 4:20). You defend those you love.
- Am I sensitive to any dishonor done to Him (2 Pet. 2:7)?
- Do I hate sin? The fire of love purges out sin (Hos. 14:8). You cannot have love without hate. In some sense, Christians should be the most hateful people in the world. They should hate the sin which works to separate them from the God whom they love.
- Will I crucify any loves that I place over Him? God takes away the world, so that the heart may cleave more to Him in sincerity. Are we willing to take away the world from within us when it competes for our love (Gal. 6:14)?
- Do I fear? Do I fear displeasing Him (Gen. 39:9)? Do I fear the presence of God turning from me (1 Sam. 4:13)?
- Do I love what God loves? A person who loves God will love His word, His people, His will, His day, His laws, His image in others, and His face.
- Love entertains good thoughts of God. Do I have a mind-frame that sees all He does as good? Love interprets everything in the best sense (1 Cor. 13:5). Our lives can feel like chaos. But with God that is not the case. When you look at your life and it looks like a tornado just went through a trailer park leaving debris everywhere, do you see hopelessness scattered throughout or do you see pieces of evidence of God’s grace working out good? If you love God, you will have a good opinion of Him. Even if He afflicts, the soul will take it well.
- Do I obey in difficult and dangerous times (Jn. 14:21)? When faced with difficult temptation, do I show the fruit of the Spirit or the flesh? When faced with dangerous suffering, do I work to compromise or trust?
- Do I work to influence others for Him and His glory? We love Him and want others to love him too.
- Do I long for His appearance and my union with Him (Rev. 22:17-20)?
- Do I humbly and willingly lower myself and submit to do whatever it takes to do His will? The fruit of someone who loves God is that they long for the highest and are willing to do the lowest for Him.
These fruits of love are not going to grow from the natural man. This is a work of God in a new creation. It is important to remember that these fruits will not be perfect or without interruption, it is that they will exist and be growing.
God tells us; “This is love; that while we were sinners Christ died for us.” Instead of turning from us, the Father sent His willing son to rescue us in love. Do we by God’s grace turn to Him in love?
Paul tells us, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (1 Cor. 13:5) Watson helps us to ask, do I love God? May our love and joy run over.
Q Grab another believer and humbly and prayerfully rate the fruit in yourselves and each other. Take this to God in dependent prayer.