“Be very careful to love The LORD your God.” (Joshua 23:11)
As the aging Joshua gave his farewell address, he wasn’t just saying good-bye to time gone by, he reminded the Israelites of everything God had done for them. And the appropriate response to God’s faithfulness, not just in the past year, but over their entire history, Joshua said, “Be very careful” to love Him. Loving God is an act of the will, and intentional response to who He is. But have you ever thought about what it really means to love God?
Many who set out to love God focus on theology. But theology, while important and necessary, makes God an academic subject of study or a philosophical argument to prove. It may be a product of our love for God, but it does not define love. Discussions abound in which God is a premise – a subject viewed through a theologian’s microscope or a philosopher’s telescope – but in which there is no affection. Yes, doctrine is critical for us to grasp, but it alone is not love. Just ask any Sadducee.
Many who set out to love God focus on works. But works, while essential outgrowth of love for God, can easily become an attempt to gain His approval. In truth, they are not acts of loyalty but acts of self-interest. We want a higher esteem in His eyes, something that makes us one of His “insiders.” We end up with self-righteousness that fills us with brief satisfaction but leaves us empty of love. Just ask any Pharisee.
Many who set out to love God focus purely on emotion. But emotions, while they are a satisfying outgrowth of love, cannot define our love. Our emotions are far too fleeting. We end up riding waves of feelings or missing out on them altogether. Love remains constant. Feelings don’t. Ask any Zealot.
So how do we love God? We simply lay our lives before Him and tell Him we are His. We crave His fellowship. We pray His desires. We are consumed and filled with His ways, His works, and His will. Yes, the theology, the works, and the feelings are included. They are all good – but only after the devotion. Love Always Comes First.
Have a loving weekend as you say “good-bye” to the old, “hello” to a new year. Make it better by worshiping The Lord with those who have a sacred obsession to please Him and serve others sacrificially just the same.
All For Jesus – Nothing More, Nothing Less, Nothing Else.
“He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, The King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see, to Him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.” (1 Timothy 6:15b-16)