February: the season of love. Wait – pause the Hallmark music. I’m not going to be discussing the Valentine’s Day kind of love today. The love we’re called for is not something that’s celebrated once a year or something that’s limited to romance. No, love is more than that.
We are told in Matthew 22 that the greatest commandment is “to love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (v.37). No problem, right? We all know this commandment but how many of us are truly living it?
I have to confess I know this commandment so well that I have a tendency to skim over it when I see it and just put a checkmark next to it that I am trying. I also thought this commandment was the easy one, when compared to the one about loving our neighbors. I love God. He is my savior and creator and I love that He is good BUT I don’t know if I always love Him the way I am called to.
I can tell you a year ago I did not love Him with all of my heart, soul and mind. I had excuses for why I couldn’t spend time with Him or rationalizations for why He hadn’t really called me to do fill-in-the-blank. My mind was focused on other things: self, career, money, bills, etc. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to love Him; it’s just that I wasn’t committed. I’d serve Him when it was convenient or appealing to me and my schedule. I’d obey when I knew no one was going to ridicule me for my faith. That is not the kind of love God is looking for.
To love God means to obey God. 1 John 5:2 says: “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.” You see I loved the idea of God but I didn’t actually love Him. Luckily, God is forgiving, planted a seed in my heart and has helped me tear down idols and strongholds to truly embrace Him. I obey Him because I love Him and I’ve decided that no matter what, He wins.
I was lukewarm and fickle or as Kyle Idleman would label me: a fan not a follower. I was happy to watch from the sidelines but it was too risky to actually go on the field and play. How then do we show our love to God? How do we know that we truly love Him?
For me, it was a few things:
- Committing to Him in writing (I just do better writing things down)
- Spending time with Him daily through His Word and prayer
- Surrounding myself with a strong Christian support group
- Applying His principles to my life. This is ongoing and will be for the rest of my life but in order to bear fruit, I have to apply His principles. This might mean cutting people from your life, changing your mindset about things are commonly accepted.
- Obeying Him even when it scares us or has the potential to hurt us
This isn’t an overnight change but an intentional, daily decision to love the one who made us. The more time I spend with God, the more I realize how lucky I am that He loves me. By loving Him, I grow more like Him. Some changes came naturally and “easily”, while others are a battle or like a weed that keeps popping up unexpectedly.
While I appreciate that love will be celebrated in just a few days, I ask you to look to the one who created us; the one who loves you and think about loving Him like He’s the only one that matters…because He is.
How do you show your love for God? Have you struggled with this commandment? I’d love to hear your feedback.