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Do you ever wonder what it means to love God? We throw the term around so loosely in today’s society - loving someone after weeks of dating, loving food, loving a location – that we can sometimes forget that true love is accompanied by action. To consider what it means to love God, take a moment to answer the following questions:
• How often do you talk with God each day?
• How often do you listen to what He has to say?
• How often do you spend time with Him – this could be in worship, meditation, or another act of showing what He means to you?
• How often do you spend time with others who He loves and wants to get to know better?
• How often do you talk about Him with others or think about Him throughout your day?
Before you continue, answer the same questions replacing “God,” “Him,” “He” with your spouse’s / dating partner’s name, food, or other things you say you “love.” How do your answers compare to one another? Do you spend all day thinking about your spouse but little time thinking about God? Do you think of what you will make for dinner, where you will get the food, and what spices you will use to make it taste great more than you think of how awesome God is for blessing you with the resources great meals? Do you spend time listening to stuff that brings you down and little time listening to messages that are uplifting and inspiring? This exercise is sometimes painful when we realize that we give God the backseat in our lives. Fear not! Loving Him and living a life that shows how much you love Him is possible.
Following His Commands
In the Bible, we are taught to follow God’s commands. To apply Jesus’s teachings to our lives and ensure we live daily surrendered to Him. If we are not following God’s commands, how can we honestly say we love Him? Like all children, we will have moments of lapse, but if our lives are filled with sin and distrust and hatred, we cannot be serving a loving and just God. When we spend all day hating others, boycotting chains of stores, and posting wretched remarks on Facebook to express our thoughts on topics that have little to do with our own lives, how can we truly stand up before God and worship Him? We have to evaluate how we are following ALL of His commands and ensure we are right with Him. We don’t get to pick and choose which ones we like. Throughout the Bible, He provides His commands for our lives in simple terms that we can all understand. To know them, we must read the Bible and hear Him speak to our lives.
As we follow His commands, the fruits of the spirit will begin to show in our lives. According to Galatians 5:22, 23 (NIV), the fruits of the spirit include “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Notice the first one: “love.” When we are walking in obedience to His commands, love is natural. Love for God becomes ingrained within us. We can’t help ourselves from helping others, blessing the people around us, and desiring to serve Him more. We have a harder time finding room in our schedule to think about others’ bedroom affairs and choice of restaurants or stores. Instead we want to think about things that are uplifting and noble, as noted in Philippians 4:8. We do not bless anyone when we yell profanities or degrade others. In fact, we only show our true hearts when we act in such ways. We are called to walk in love, which comes as we love God.
When you are following His commands and loving others, you find yourself wanting to serve. You want to have people over to talk, play games, get to know each other. You want to spend time with those who you can help as well as those who can pour into you and help you become stronger. You want to distribute soup at your local Family Kitchen. You want to get involved with the community and be a part of something bigger than you. You want to give others the opportunity to feel as wonderful as you do. When you love God, service becomes natural. This is seen often in the gospels, through the letters from Paul, and in the books of the Old Testament. Those called to God’s service can’t help themselves from wanting to serve others.
Talking About Him
When you truly love someone, you think about them a lot. You find the most random things remind you of him or her. The same is true of God. When you are truly in love with the Lord and are serving Him, you find yourself thinking of Him in the smallest things. As such, you start to talk about Him more. Friends may comment on it because they notice that you can’t seem to go through a day without sharing something about what He has done or who He is. In fact, some may refer to you as a “freak” or “sold out.” Take these terms as a compliment to your walk with God.
We should be so in love that we want to talk about Him often. When we love God, we want others to know too. We want to be respectful of others but not afraid of being called names just because we show our love. It should be like a fiance – most won’t rub it in a single’s person face that he/she is getting married but will offer thoughts of “you will have your day.” You allow the other person to retain his or her beliefs and dignity while offering your thoughts and feelings. It is then on the other person to decide whether to ask about learning more or move on with his or her day.
The Full Package of Love
There is so much to cover when talking about loving God, but these thoughts provide a good start. Just as you would never go through a full day without talking with loved ones or thinking of your favorite foods or locations, please don’t allow a full day to go by without talking with God. He is always there waiting for us to dine with Him and share our lives with Him. This is what makes Him so amazing and wonderful: that He loves us so much He waits for us. He will never force us into submission but instead allows us the free will to choose to love Him or continue as we are. Take a moment to look at your lists again and reflect on the areas you want to change today. Once you have identified where you would like to show Him more love, start doing so! You will never regret the decision and there is no such thing as loving God too much.
NOTE: This article was published in the free online publication Christian Witness Online Magazine, August 1 - 15 edition.
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