Welcome back as we continue to explore how to love well as followers of Jesus. In this post, we will consider loving God well. In future posts, we will look at loving ourselves well and loving others well.
In the first post in this series, I shared this definition of love: actively seeking the highest good of the one who is loved. Here’s a similar definition from C.S. Lewis:
Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.
I have to admit that this post was the most difficult for me to write in this series. I mean, really, who of us can love God the way He deserves? It makes this recovering works-based Christian girl want to run for the hills.
So now seems like a good time to restate that loving well can only be accomplished with the help of the Spirit.
And on those days when even that is not enough (because I’m depending on me, not the Spirit), I will remember that my salvation is not dependent on what I do, but on what God has done for me.
At the same time, because of what He has done for me, I want to love Him well.
So let’s explore some ways we can live out the greatest command as spoken by Jesus in Mark 12:30: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
In a nutshell, Jesus is asking us to love God with everything we have.
Let’s crack open that nut and look at it from a few different angles.
Loving God Well – With All Our Heart
In plain terms, to love God with all our heart means that we desire Him above all things.
Our relationship with Him is our highest priority.
In practical terms, He is the first thing we think about when we wake up and the last thing we think about before falling off to sleep.
Thinking of Him fills our waking thoughts. Dialogue with him is a constant and necessary part of our day.
Obviously this is the IDEAL – not the norm – for most of us. Just remember – I’m exploring what it looks like to love God well by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is what I aspire to; it is not my intention to make myself (or anyone else) feel guilt or shame if my day doesn’t look like this. No worries, friend, because with God we can always have a fresh start.
Loving God Well – With All Our Soul
To love God with all my soul means that I am sincerely dedicated to Him in the deepest part of myself;
Similarly, I am committed to His tasks and purpose for me.
I pledge myself to Him day after day.
As a result, He is the only thing that truly satisfies me.
So practically speaking, when I am feeling discontent or dissatisfied (in a funk – you know what I mean)
it likely means that I have lost my focus and dedication to Him somewhere along the way.
I believe this is when I recommit myself to Him.
I consider my current thoughts, words and actions and determine where I am looking for satisfaction outside of God’s design for me.
If I’m honest with myself and God, this process doesn’t take very long.
Loving God Well – With All Our Mind
Loving God well with our mind includes directing our thoughts to Him and growing in knowledge of who He is.
For instance, one way I’ve been working to love God with all my mind is through the practice of morning affirmations.
I know that it sounds New-Agey, but I keep reading about the research that says we can rewire our brains if we redirect our thoughts. (Like this article.)
That being said, I’m willing to give it a try. Two of my affirmations are directed toward loving God and others well:
And, of course, studying the Bible, meditating on and memorizing God’s Word, and focusing on His character are all ways to help us love God well with our minds.
Loving God Well – With All Our Strength
I think this relates to using our energy and resources to please God and protect our relationship with Him.
We show God that we love Him well through our obedience to Him.
In other words…
Hanging in there; loving God even when it seems He is quiet or when things aren’t going the way we want them to.
This is why I state each day that my faith is growing stronger. If there’s anything I know, it’s that life doesn’t always go as we plan.
Tragedy, sin, disappointment – it is all an inevitable part of life on this broken globe. So when pain and heartache come into my life, I need my faith to carry me through all the way to eternity. My desire is for the joy of the Lord to be my strength when it seems all else is lost.
In conclusion, it is my hope that this post has given each of us some things to think about; a desire to love God better than we did yesterday; and a reminder that grace covers us when we need it.
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