After the disciples dined on the meal Jesus prepared, the Lord said to Peter, "Simon, son of John, lovest thou me more than these?" (v. 15). In effect, the Lord was saying to Peter, "A few days ago you said that though all others should deny me, you would not. But you did, and you did it three times; so I must ask you three times also, ‘Do you love Me more than all the others?’ " Peter replied, "Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee." What he may have meant was this: "Lord, I really don’t know whether I love You or not. You know. And even if I did know, I would not dare to say it. Just a few days ago I said that I would never deny You, but immediately afterwards I did. Whatever I say doesn’t count, but whatever You know really counts. Lord, You know that I love You." Peter was not sure exactly how to answer. But this is not the point. Listen! The Lord said to Peter, "Feed my lambs." Then the second time the Lord told him, "Tend my sheep." And then the third time, "Feed my sheep." The Lord did not tell him to teach or instruct, or even to edify, but just to feed. Our love for the Lord must issue in our feeding of His lambs. Finally, the Lord Jesus gave Peter one additional word, "Follow me" (vv. 19, 22).
I say this especially to the young brothers and sisters—love the Lord Jesus, feed His lambs, and follow Him. That is good enough. Nothing else is required. True service to the Lord consists of loving Him, feeding His lambs, and following Him. And where is He? He is in our spirit. We must follow Him in our spirit. We must exercise our heart to love Him—to love is a heart matter (Mark 12:30). But to follow the Lord is a matter of the spirit, for the Lord today is in our spirit (I Cor. 6:17). We must simply love Him with our heart and follow Him by exercising our spirit; then we will be nourished by Him. With the nourishment by which we are nourished, we may then feed His lambs. This is absolutely nothing of religion. Don’t think that you need to know the Bible, go to seminary or Bible college, and receive a religious education. You don’t need that. You need the first, best, and genuine love for the Lord Jesus. The Lord asked Peter, "Lovest thou me more than these?" We must answer, "Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee." The service of the Lord in this New Testament dispensation is not a matter of knowledge or education, but absolutely a matter of loving the Lord. The degradation of the church began with the loss of this—"I have this against thee, that thou didst leave thy first love" (Rev. 2:4). As long as we have the first, best, and genuine love for the Lord, we are safe. Then we must follow Him who is in our spirit. We love Him with all our heart, and we follow Him by our spirit; then whatever we do is just to feed His lambs. Praise the Lord!
Now you may realize where we should stand and where we must stand. We have the Lord Jesus, the resurrected, living One meeting with us all the time—anywhere, everywhere, anytime, everytime, without any schedule, plan or arrangement. He is everything to us. All we need to do is simply to love Him with all our hearts and follow Him by our spirit, thus obtaining the nourishment to feed others.
(Christ versus Religion, Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)