The love of God is to be the only real and lasting love of your heart...
- The Rule of Carthage, Irish, 7th century
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.”
- Matthew 22.37, 38
When God is the only real and lasting love of our hearts, all other loves will find their proper place. Love for God selects, shapes, and brings to proper expression love for neighbors, and for all other things.
We get in trouble when we fail to love God as Jesus commands. We love Him a little, perhaps even a great deal. But we do not love Him with all our souls and strength. We love other things as well, and like Demas (2 Tim. 4.10), love for such things can distract us from our Kingdom-and-glory calling in the Lord.
It must be possible to love God like this, all-out, whole heart, nothing held back. Jesus wouldn’t have urged us on in loving God this way if it were not possible. Every affection devoted to God. Every thought revolving around and resting on Him. Every decision, value, and choice rooted in Him and His will. Every person or thing loved, loved with the love that comes from staying close to the Lord as the only real and lasting love of our hearts.
It must be possible.
So why are we so often so far from it? Why does self-love so readily obscure the beauty of the Lord and short-circuit love for others? Why do we love things more than neighbors and God?
Knowing that it is possible to love God purely, consistently, passionately, and transformingly, why do we allow anything to get between us and Him?
Perhaps we are bigger fools than we think? Instead of trusting in and loving God with all our hearts, we lean on our own understanding, and look for satisfaction and fulfillment in selfish desires, and fleeting experiences and things. Is it that we have not seenGod, or known Him as He truly is, that we think these lesser things are more to be desired than the Lord of glory?
Oh, that we might take Jesus seriously, and call upon Him to be at work within us, willing and doing, by His power to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we’ve ever asked or thought, to enable us to love God with all our hearts, souls, and minds!
But what will it look like as we increase in love for God? And where can we turn to nurture such love in our souls? How will it appear that we are growing in love for God, and that the love He has for us is shaping all other loves? Love for God takes various forms, and grows along a spectrum of foci and interests. We love God when we love His Presence, His Word, His Kingdom and salvation, His creation and all His works, His people, and His glory.
We even love God as we fear Him.
We have been created to know God, and we will increase in knowing Him as we grow in love for Him day by day.
Here is a project to die for, and one to live for as well. Loving God as our only real and lasting love will require earnest prayer, daily seeking the Lord in His Word and creation, and listening for Him to guide us by His still, small voice along the paths of daily obedience. Thus we may hope to see Him in His glory, and love Him in all His fullness.
Jesus says we can love God this way. Let our prayer be that we will.
1. Why do you suppose it’s so difficult to grow in love for God?
2. How can believers encourage one another in loving God?
Psalm 96.1-7 (Mit Freuden Zart: All Praise to God, Who Reigns Above)
Sing to the Lord! O, bless His Name! All nations tell His glory!
Salvation’s tidings loud proclaim; let earth rehearse His story!
For God is greatly to be praised; His throne above all gods is raised!
Fear Him, and sing His glory!
All other gods are idols vain; the Lord created heaven.
Splendor and strength with Him obtain; to Him is glory given!
All fam’lies, praise this mighty Lord! Give strength and glory to His Word;
exalt the Lord of heaven.
Today, Lord, I want to grow in love for You, and so I will…
Heaven on Earth?
You have a heavenly calling (Heb. 3.1). So what does that mean? Our current ReVision series on “Encouragement” address this question, and you can read about it by clicking here. Subscribe to ReVision, which comes out every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, by using the pop-up to update your subscriptions.
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T. M. Moore
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Ó Maidín, p. 67.