Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
Has anyone ever said to you “I love you with all my heart?” You heard what they were saying…but how did you determine if their words were sincere?
I’m certain that you can easily determine if there is heartfelt love in the following statements:
“He never talks to me.”
“…never does anything I ask him to do.”
“…into his own little world and never includes me in anything.”
“He’s always irritable.”
“But…he says, he loves me.”
“She does nothing to please me or make me happy.”
“…never spends time with me.”
“…constantly criticizes me.”
“She’s always in a mood.”
“But…she says, she loves me.”
Unfortunately, many people can relate to this kind of love which is not love at all. Love that is real is accompanied by confirming action. Love is demonstrated by works and attitudes that reveal the reality of the heart.
Do you love God? I can’t imagine that anyone claiming to be a Christian would answer in any other way than to say unequivocally “yes, I love God.” Yet our lives often contradict that affirmation of love for God. The love that we are to have for God should encompass the totality of our being. You are to “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” To these words from Deuteronomy Jesus added, “With all your mind.” (Mark 12:30)
Love for God encompasses ALL
Notice how the word “all” is used to instruct us on the depth of the love we are to have for God. Our love for God is to permeate the totality of our being… all heart, all soul, all strength, and all mind. God doesn’t want us to love Him just with words but with actions that reveal the reality of the words. It is love that is committed, devoted, dedicated, consecrated, and sincere. Shallow and superficial love doesn’t cut it. There is much more to loving God than showing up for an occasional worship service and dropping a few coins in the offering plate.
You can teach Sunday School and not love God. You can be a leader in your church and not love God. And you can even read your Bible every day and not love God. Loving God is not about going through the motions and just doing religious stuff. We are capable of doing many things that look like love but real love for God is rooted in a close personal relationship with Him.
God wants us to pour ourselves into loving Him. He wants us to work on the relationship by spending time with Him, modifying our behavior to please Him, surrendering to His will, following His direction and guidance, believing His promises, and trusting Him to provide, protect, and work in our best interest.
Love for God is to be perfect, but He understands our imperfection.
Before you go beating up on yourself too much please remember that your love will always be imperfect. In your humanity you are still flawed by sin and you will frequently fall short of God’s standard for loving Him. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to love Him with all of your heart, soul, strength, and mind.
I love my wife and children with all my heart but there are times when I fail miserably at demonstrating that love. I want it to be perfect love but sometimes it just comes out wrong. Likewise, my love for God is filled with peaks and valleys, highs and lows, and flaws and imperfections, but it is still love. God, who loves perfectly, honors the effort that comes from a sincere heart and gives grace sufficient for all your needs. You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to give it your best effort.
What can you do today that will demonstrate the reality of your love for God? Do it. You already know that God cares about you. Now, let Him know that you care deeply for Him. Get real in your love for God.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Don’t Let Anything Keep You from Eternal Life with Jesus
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.