Loving God – It all Starts Here
Bring up the subject of God, and loving God, even in the Church, and you can come across all sorts of differing reactions. I have had people tell me that they struggle to love God, or understand His love for them. Some people struggle with talking of having any kind of intimacy with God. Perhaps it is hard to break through the stereotypes that attach themselves to us from our past relationships or out past religious experiences. Perhaps we cannot get past thinking of God as a theological concept, and so intimacy with God is not even a consideration for us. Our minds and our emotions create great filters through which we “filter” our relationship with God.
Yet, loving God supremely is what Jesus called the “First and Great Commandment.” Taken from Deuteronomy 6:4-6, Israel, remember this! The LORD—and the LORD alone—is our God. – Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
He repeats this command in Matthew 22:38 in response to the question, Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? In this Old Testament and New Testament reinforcement, Jesus says to us that our love for the Lord must be primary, and comprehensive…
All Your Heart…
We must love Him with all of our heart – all of our emotions, all of our motivations, all of our affections, all of our allegiances. Whatever comes first in any area of our hearts keeps us from loving the Lord with ALL our hearts. We are to overcome every and all blockages or misconceptions in order to love Him with ALL our hearts. That seems like a pretty tall order!
All Your Soul…
But in addition, we must love Him with all our soul. That means that our love for Him trumps all of our neediness, our desires for comfort, all our inclinations for ease and for the pleasures of self and the flesh. He is to be at the very top of our “life hungers,” and our love for Him is to be the center of our life’s security. As David, we are to hunger and thirst for him as we would hunger and thirst for food and water in a dry and weary land (Ps. 63).
All Your Mind…
But we must also love Him with all our mind. Our thoughts, our aspirations, our contemplations, our meditations are all to be centered and rooted in our love for Him. Our thoughts are to be filled with love for Him that infects all of our decisions, and reactions to lives circumstances.
Now, if the Lord put this first thing before Israel at the very beginning of their “relationship” together, and if Jesus said that this is the first and great commandment, that would seem to indicate that God desires for us to understand that this is important to Him, our love for Him. Not because He is selfish for people to love Him, or lonely and needs affirmation. Of course not. He is God, He is infinite, perfect and complete in Himself. He needs nothing. He knows that for us to be complete, He must take first place in all these areas of our lives. Not because we grudgingly obey a law, as stopping for an inconvenient stop light. He made us for relationship, and for relationship with Him. We will talk at a later time about how to fall more in love with Him, but for now, He knows that we will only be complete as He made us to be if our first and primary love is for Him.
Let me ask a question of all of us… Have we spent some time lately truly and honestly assessing whether our love for God has that kind of priority in our lives? I mean, not just our lip service, but is it reflected out in the way we live our lives, what we long after, what we think about, the decisions we make?
Take some time this week to purposefully set aside time to ask the Lord to help you answer this question: “Lord, as you see my life, am I loving you with all my heart and soul and mind?” Allow Him to tell you how He sees your love for Him. And if there are some things He gently reveals to you that could be changed, write them down, and ask Him to show you how to change them.
Loving the Lord with ALL our heart, and soul, and mind, is not optional, it is not up for a vote to see where on the list it should be. By God’s repeated insistence, it needs to be first in our lives. Let’s start here in our quest for transforming revival.