“𝗪𝗲 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗮𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗛𝗲 𝗳𝗶𝗿𝘀𝘁 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗱 𝘂𝘀.” 𝟭 𝗝𝗼𝗵𝗻 𝟰:𝟭𝟵
The Bible commands us to love God, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5). This is the greatest commandment that Jesus pointed out to the Pharisees (Matthew 22:34-38).
𝙏𝙧𝙪𝙚 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙂𝙤𝙙 𝙞𝙨 𝙖 𝙨𝙪𝙥𝙧𝙚𝙢𝙚 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚, 𝙖𝙨 𝙞𝙩 𝙞𝙣𝙫𝙤𝙡𝙫𝙚𝙨 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙂𝙤𝙙 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙮𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 – “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” It is whole-hearted and life-encompassing.
This may sound too lofty and humanly unattainable, but “We love because God first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Loving God with our everything is made possible by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ that gave way to God’s love being poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:5). 𝙏𝙧𝙪𝙚 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚 𝙚𝙢𝙖𝙣𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙨 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙂𝙤𝙙, “𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚 𝙞𝙨 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙂𝙤𝙙” (1 𝙅𝙤𝙝𝙣 4:7). 𝘼 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙞𝙨 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙖𝙣𝙘𝙝𝙤𝙧𝙚𝙙 𝙤𝙣 𝙂𝙤𝙙 𝙘𝙖𝙣𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙗𝙚 𝙜𝙚𝙣𝙪𝙞𝙣𝙚 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚.
𝙏𝙧𝙪𝙚 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙂𝙤𝙙 𝙪𝙣𝙞𝙩𝙚𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙜𝙡𝙤𝙧𝙮 𝙤𝙛 𝙂𝙤𝙙 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙟𝙤𝙮 – these are not mutually exclusive. John Piper puts it succinctly: “Loving God will include obeying all His commands; it will include believing all His word; it will include thanking Him for all His gifts. But all that is overflow. The essence of loving God is admiring and enjoying all He is. And it is this enjoyment of God that makes all of our other responses truly glorifying to Him.”
People are seeking happiness in all the wrong places outside of God. What many people fail to realize is that the purest enjoyment is found in God alone. 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙢𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙬𝙚 𝙜𝙚𝙩 𝙨𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙤𝙪𝙨 𝙖𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙩𝙧𝙪𝙡𝙮 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙂𝙤𝙙 𝙞𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙢𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙬𝙚 𝙜𝙚𝙩 𝙩𝙤 𝙚𝙭𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙝𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙚𝙨𝙩 𝙟𝙤𝙮 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙞𝙨 𝙞𝙣 𝙃𝙞𝙨 𝙥𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚 (𝙋𝙨𝙖𝙡𝙢 16:11).
1. Do I truly love God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my might?
𝙈𝙮 𝙙𝙚𝙖𝙧 𝙇𝙤𝙧𝙙, 𝙢𝙖𝙮 𝙄 𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚 𝙏𝙝𝙚𝙚 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙤𝙛 𝙢𝙚.
“Help me to discern between true and false love, the one consisting of supreme love to Thee,
the other not, the former uniting Thy glory and man’s happiness that they may become one common interest, the latter disjointing and separating them both, seeking the latter with neglect of the former. Grant me grace to distinguish between the genuine and the false,
and to rest in Thee who art all love.” Amen.
(Prayer excerpt from: Love Rest in God, The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan prayers and devotions)