The human heart can love the human Jesus as it can love the human Lincoln, but the spiritual love of Jesus is something altogether different from and infinitely superior to the purest love the human heart can know. Indeed, it is not possible to love Jesus rightly except by the Holy Spirit. Only the third Person of the Trinity can love the second Person in a manner pleasing to the Father. The spiritual love of Jesus is nothing else but the Spirit in us loving Christ the Eternal Son. Christ, after the flesh, receives a great deal of fawning attention from the liberal and the modernist, but love that is not the outflow of the indwelling Holy Spirit is not true spiritual love and cannot be acceptable to God. We do Christ no honor when we do no more than to give Him the best of our human love. Even though we love Him better than we love any other man, still it is not enough if He merely wins first place in competition with Socrates or Walt Whitman. He is not rightly loved until He is loved as very God of very God, and the Spirit within us does the loving. There is much in present-day gospel circles that illustrates the distinction we are pointing out. A great many loud protestations of love for Christ leave the discerning heart with the impression that they are but sounding brass and tinkling cymbals. Innumerable sweet love ballads are sung to Jesus by persons who have never known the inward illumination of the Holy Spirit or felt the shock that comes with a true sight of the sinful pollution of nature.
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” John 21:16
The love Christ asks of us is not the sentimental kind with emotional outbursts tearfully expressed. Love for Him is expressed in loving His sheep, releasing to people the love of Christ produced by the indwelling Spirit.
Father, teach me to love with that love that is part of the fruit of the Spirit produced in me as I walk daily by the Spirit. That is spiritual love.