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In the Gates

Love the Lord

The Worldview of God’s Law: Spiritual Discipline(1)

When we fear God as we ought, we will love Him as He desires.


And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul…” Deuteronomy 10.12

Let’s look a little more closely at the order of the words God uses in explaining to His people what He requires of them. First, we are to fear Him, as we have seen. If we truly fear the Lord we will listen to His words when He speaks to us, for we do not want to be found to be indifferent or neglectful of His Law, knowing that adverse consequences can ensue. As we listen to His Word and understand His will for us, we will then, in obedience, walk in all His ways.

We walk in His ways out of fear of God and in order to avoid the discipline which, we suspect, will fall to us if we do not heed His Law (Heb. 12.3-11). What happens when we obey the Lord – because we know Who He is, what He is capable of, who we are, what we deserve, and what God the Almighty has nonetheless done for us in redeeming us from slavery? When we walk in the ways of the Lord we find that His favor surrounds and sustains us, so that we begin to enjoy the blessings of His presence and promises.

We discover, as we walk in the obedience of faith, that our fearsome God is also a God of great mercy and abundant grace. Rather than chide or chasten us, He meets us in His glory to confirm our obedience, unfold His promises, and guide us further in the way of life. Knowing this, how can we help but love the Lord? Love for God grows out of fear, obedience, and gratitude. As we begin to love the Lord, fear does not subside; rather gratitude and love increase, and all the desires of our hearts begin to strain toward knowing the Lord and enjoying His promises increasingly.

Then, when we love the Lord, we will serve Him with all our heart and soul – mind and conscience as well. We will think about Him continually, value what He values, seek what He commands, and devote our words and deeds to bringing His glory to light through our lives.

The fear of God and the love of God are two sides of the same coin; they are the basic currency of life in God’s Covenant. And we must train our hearts – and all our souls – to fear and love the Lord as He requires. The work of spiritual discipline is ever focused on these two affections.

For a more complete exposition of the promises of God, order a copy of T. M.’s book, I Will Be Your God, from our online store. For more insight into how the fear and love of God can be nurtured, read, “The Commanding Affections,” by T. M.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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