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It is not unusual to hear someone claim to love God. I make that claim myself. But what does that mean? Or rather, what is that supposed to mean, as we see it described in God’s word? In the last post, I talked about how our whole existence is supposed to be involved in our love for God. What does that mean to me? How will that show up in my life? This is not to be merely a one time event, but an ongoing relationship. Notice the sense of continuity in this passage in Jude.
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 20-21
If we are not careful, we can read the scriptures about loving God and come to treat the love we have for God as one thing and the life we choose to live as something else. Read the following verses from Joshua.
“But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Joshua 22:5
There are several places in Deuteronomy (chapters 6, 10,11, 19, and 30) that have similar expressions. We might read and understand these verses to mean that God’s people are to love Him and keep His commandments, and walk in His ways, hold fast to Him and serve Him. That would make a separation where there is none. Remember this verse,
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment.” Mark 12:30
The love we are to have for God is to encompass the entirety of who we are. We cannot separate the love that we have and confess for God from the life choices we make.
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. John 14:15
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” John 14:21-23
“This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.” 2 John 6
There are many other places that stress this point. John’s first epistle has a lot to say about love and what it means to love the Lord. I plan to talk about that in the next post.
Let me summarize in this way. The love we are to have for God is to be a conscious commitment of all we are. This includes our decision to walk in His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him and to serve Him. That is what is means to love God.
I say that and then reflect on my own life, and wince. I am humbled and dismayed to see all of the flaws in my love toward God. But then I lift my eyes to marvel at God’s love for me and I am inspired to open myself up to that love and to the wonders brought by that relationship.
What do you think?
Until next time…