I hope you all had a lovely Valentine’s Day. Whether it was spent alone, with family, with friends, or with a special someone – I hope it was a fabulous day!
Lately, I have been thinking about my need to love God. To really love God. In many ways, I can see where things and other people (and often, myself!) come before God and my love for Him. I do believe that I love God… but many times that love is oh so weak. It’s a very conditional love – based on my mood, my schedule, my circumstances, etc.
The two verses that keep coming to my mind are these –
“And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear O Israel; the Lord thy God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength: this is the first and great commandment.” Mark 12:29-30
This is the first and great commandment. We are to love God with our whole heart, with everything in us, with everything we’ve got!
Lately I’ve been asking… how??? How do I learn to love God? How do I love Him first and foremost? How do I love Him more than the people in my life when I can’t even see Him? How, how, how?
I am so thankful for God’s Word. It’s right there in the blank and white when we take the time to look. Here is how you and I can cultivate a greater love for God, and learn to love Him with all our heart.
How to Cultivate Your Love for God
Let Him Be First in Your Heart
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3
When most of us hear the command above, we often think of the “gods” in other religions. Yes, they apply to this command, but other things and other people can fall under this as well. We may not think of our best friend or smart phone as a god, but when they mean more to us than God Himself, that is just what they’ve become.
Whenever anything or anyone consistently comes between us and our time with God, we make them a god. Whether it’s social media, friends, a relationship, church activities, ministries, work, hobbies, food, a busy schedule, etc. All those things and more can be gods in our life. More often than not, we are serving those gods instead of the One True God who deserves our first priority, our first love.
I like to think of the center of our hearts as a throne. God is the One who is supposed to be there, ruling and reigning. Everything else should fall into place around Him, but He wants and deserves the center. However, the world and our own flesh are constantly fighting to crown something or someone else as god in our heart. There are constant distractions, and endless activities that threaten to pull God down off His rightful place in our hearts. So often we passively allow something else to take that center, that throne.
You and I must make the choice to let God be the One and only God in our heart. It’s a choice we must make. Nothing should be allowed to come before Him. We must guard our hearts, and make the choice to let Him rule supreme in our lives.
Spend Time Seeking Him
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all my heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
The more time we spend with the Lord, the more we will get to know Him. The more we learn to know God, the greater our love will grow.
Once again, this is a choice. We must choose to spend time with God, and we must be intentional about it. When we don’t set aside time to spend in the Word and prayer, then more and more things will crowd into our day, and into our heart. Spend time with the Lord, and learn to abide in Him throughout your whole day.
Love will not grow stronger if you don’t make time for the ones you love. It’s no different with the Lord… you must spend time with Him to cultivate a love for Him in your heart.
Starve Your Love for the World
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15
Yes, we live in the world… but we are NOT supposed to love the world. Love for the world can so easily creep into our hearts. Through our workplaces, the internet, social media, TV, etc. we are constantly being bombarded by the world’s way of thinking and it’s pleasures. The world is attractive, I agree… but it’s deceitfully attractive.
Love for the world crept into my heart when I began to spend more time online. I was semi-aware that “the world” was creeping in, but it seemed like no big deal. It wasn’t until I went to camp for a summer (completely away from the world) that I saw how the world had been slowly pulling me in. Back home while online and through books, I was being fed humanistic ideology, the latest fashion trends (even “modest” fashion trends), some feminist ways of thinking, and the world’s idea of love and beauty.
So maybe it was nothing too major, but it was just enough weekly exposure to allow a love for the world to begin growing in my heart. Upon returning home, I definitely made some changes. Changes that helped to ignore the pull of the world. But you know what? The world is still there… it’s still pulling and I still need to fight against it.
In order to free our hearts from any love for the world, we need to starve it. All the entrances the world has into our hearts and minds should be closed off. Instead of filling our minds and hearts with things of the world, they must be filled with godly things. It’s hard, very hard. We live IN the world so it’s a constant battle. The only thing that can truly conquer a love for the world is a steadfast love for God.
So, starve your love for the world, and replace it with an undying, passionate love for the Lord.
Obey His Word
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” 1 John 5:3
When you and I love the Lord with all our hearts… we will WANT to obey Him. Our desire to follow God and His ways will grow stronger as our love for God grows. When you love God, you will keep His commandments willingly. We will still struggle with our flesh… and we will mess up. We will never be perfect. But the more we love God, the more delight and joy we will find in obeying God’s Word and following His will.
A sincere desire to obey the Lord is proof that there is a love for Him in your heart.
Don’t stop with desire. Follow through, take action. Allow God to have the center of your heart, make time for Him each day, starve your love for the world, and obey God’s Word.
Make the choice to love the Lord with all your heart!
“And thou shalt love the LORD thy God With all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Deuteronomy 6:5
Share Your Thoughts
Do you struggle to love God with all your heart?
What is your biggest obstacle? – Keeping Him at the center of your heart and life? Making time for Him? Getting distracted by the world? Obeying His Word?
Please share your thoughts and answers in the comment section 🙂