“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might".
If you are anything like me, I often struggle with these words that originated in the Old Testament. Jesus himself echoes the same words in Matthew 22:36-40. Jesus, like he always does, takes this to the next level. He says to love God and to love others as you would love yourself. What does this mean for the Christian and how do you actually carry this out in your life? What does love for God look like? What does love for others look like?
Love for God may not look like what we think it does.
Love for God should originate in the fact that He first loved us. Before the foundation of the world He knew us and planned for us. Realizing that even while we were still sinners, he sent His son to die for us. Love for God should originate from the posture of “He gave so much for us” and I do not deserve it. Perhaps the confusion lies in our understanding of the word love. Love for God and Love for others is an action not a feeling. I think we can all admit there are days we just don’t “feel” like it. No matter what “it” is we just do not want to do it. That is why we see so much divorce in marriages and honestly, we see so many people just leaving churches and going somewhere else.
Love is not this shallow; it is an action.
The response to loving God then is to seek out righteousness and holiness. Seek after ways that you know would be glorifying to Him within your gift set. For example, I am a teacher of God’s word. This means that I can show my love for God by studying and delivering a message every week that glorifies Him and points to the sacrifice of His son. Personally, this also means that in my family I often sacrifice what I want and what I need for the greater good of the family. Sometimes it is easy like what is for dinner kind of decision. While, other times it is extremely difficult like relenting on a decision with teenagers because it would be God pleasing to relent.
Want to show your love for God then? Pray, read His word, Love the world around you.
We all want a list to put check marks next to, it doesn’t work that way. If it was that easy everyone would be doing it. Loving others is what Jesus tells us as well. Loving others like you would love yourself. I had a friend say that he “loved himself too much to do a bad job”. I thought he was joking until he explained the concept behind it. I do believe if you are mistreating or abusing those around you there is a problem with you internally. Because of this you need to be caring for those around you sacrificially. How do you love others around you? Are you loving them how you think they should be loved? Are you loving them how God says to love them?
Everyone has a certain way that love is accepted by them, are you monitoring how that works in those closest to you?
Start a list of those friends closest to you and how to speak love to them. You would be surprised how well it works to affirm your sacrificial love for someone in THEIR language.
In the end love God and love others is not just a suggestion it is a command. God knows that if you would just follow those two commands for all of your days your walk with the Lord would be an amazing one to witness.