The more you know God, the more you will love Him
Loving God as our first love means we will have a daily awareness of God and our need for Him. Love is not automatic. It is something we nurture and grow. It is easier to say we love God than to actually love God. But love is an expectation for the spiritual person. God tells us the expectation in Mark 12:30, and it is a tall order.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Mark 12:30
We love many things, don’t we? I think of favorite foods, books, people, movies, scents, clothes, tastes in artwork, music, and places we like to be. These are the things that make life enjoyable and worth the journey. These help us understand the concept of love.
Loving God is a combination of all of the goods in life and that thing called, more, which I have mentioned several times before in my writings. God made us to want more. We should not be satisfied for life as it is. We were made for more. The more is more of Him.
The interesting part of this reality is this; when we receive more of God through an awareness of Him, we begin to crave more and more and more of Him. The more we know God, the more we love God, the more we will want to be close to Him. In this God satisfies a deep need that lies within us, the need for truth and purpose . . . and relationship.
Notice, the verse doesn’t say know more about God with all your heart, mind, and soul. It is love the Lord with all your heart, mind, and soul. Love will initiate knowing. A byproduct of the loving is a quiet sense of knowing God. This happens when all parts are fully engaged in the loving of God with the mind, the soul, the heart, and the strength.
We drift away from God-loving as our focal point when our focus is or becomes person-centered as more important than the maintaining and developing of a personal relationship with God.
Some people have yet to fall in love with God. Loving God comes when you trust Him with your needs, wants, and desires, when we look to Him to be our all-in-all. God is the purpose of life for you and for me. Trust, true, living, unadulterated trust, means letting go of the picture-you-have-in-your-mind for your own self in order to become the-picture-God-has-in-His-mind for your life.
Loving God as your first love has many fine characteristics. The following list is an example of what this kind of love looks like. The list is not exhaustive.
You will know you love God when your attitudes and actions display some or all of the following–
- Love that delights in the Lord is primary over the love of someone else
- Love for God that is real longs for fellowship with God throughout the day
- Love for God and thoughts of Him enter your thinking during times of leisure
- Love for God like this does not make excuses for wrong behaviors that are not of God
- Love that is God-centered means that our alms, acts of worship and service will be cheerfully and freely given
- Loving from the heart is to love others as Christ loved them, unconditionally and without the need for merit
- Loving from the heart is to forgive others as Christ forgave them, not tallying their wrongs to be remembered
- Loving from the heart is to view God’s commands as expressions of His love
- Loving God will mean to seek God’s approval first, rather than human acknowledgment and praise
- Love like this will be shared with others rather than hidden from view
- Loving God means being sensitive and willing to give up that which offends or harms
- Having a servant’s heart, a humble heart, and an other-centered disposition
How do we do this?
God tells us to ask, seek, and knock, and then the door will be opened to us. We must ask Him for what we want, spiritually speaking. Then we seek God with our whole heart and look for His answer with expectation. We anticipate His fulfillment of our request. This is the critical point (after salvation). Be intentional. Tell Him that you want to know Him. Open yourself up to having an honest conversation with God. Give yourself freely to this undertaking. Seek to not withhold any part of your thinking or life from God’s loving intervention. (Expect it to be uncomfortable at first as He reveals your inner person to you.) Believe me, God wants to answer your prayer by coming close to you.
That’s what I did. I asked. I surrendered. I listened. I waited. I pled. And I gave up doing it my way. God takes us as serious once we decide to become serious with Him. He never forces His will as a way to bend us into compliance. It doesn’t work that way. He understands where we are weak. He will reveal Himself to us in His way. We aren’t cookie cutter Christians. Each one of us is unique. What is common to our spiritual experience, though, is there is a great deal of humbling that goes on before we become a sweet savor to God.
Above all else, find God as your first love. Pray, fast, give, meditate, memorize scripture–there are many ways to seek God. It is helpful to implement and practice spiritual disciplines as a way to increase your love for God. This is not a shallow pursuit. It is deep, borne out of sincere desire for God, and for God to reveal Himself. At some point, your ability to trust God will become strong like an anchor. The questions will calm once you feel secure in God.
Study of the Bible’s words, biblical text, will increase your understanding of God and His truth. The New Testament gospels, the book of Romans, the book of John are all great places to begin your spiritual fine-tuning in such a way that it will draw you deeper into His ways. If reading the Bible is new to you, I suggest you read John first. The psalms offer prayers of comfort during the hard and stressful times. A psalm a day will keep the doctor away. They are all about life in the real. Philippians gives peace and joy, and practical thoughts for living the Spirit-filled life.
These are places to begin a deeper relationship with God. Let me know if I can be of assistance to you.
What do you think? What can you add to this list? I welcome your comments.
Note: Some concepts in this blog were gleaned from a sermon by Pastor Larry Peterson