“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”—Deuteronomy 6:5
Love is not an emotion that can be turned on or off like a faucet. Love—true love—involves a deep abiding commitment to the one who is loved. Of course it involves the emotions but it is also rooted in the mind and the will; it means we surrender our lives for the good of someone else. In fact, in this text, as in so many other places in the Bible, we are exhorted to love from our “heart,” a reference to the very core of our being.
If we loved God with “all our heart, soul, and might” it would affect every aspect of our lives: how we treat others, how we view our vocation, how we earn and spend money, and how much time we spend in God’s presence. We would become, in the best sense of the word, “God-intoxicated.” Such a love for God is actually the major, and ultimately, the only purpose of our existence. And such love gives us a distaste for sin.
But how do we love God when, by nature, we’re prone to turn away from Him? How do we learn to love a God whose wrath abides on all those who reject His Son? God, as I have learned through years of contemplation and study, is much more mysterious than I once thought He was!
First, we must meditate on Him through the lens of Scripture. We can’t say we’re in a love relationship with Him and spend scant time in the letter He sent us via the authors of the Bible. If you’re not regularly spending time in “The Book,” turn to Psalm 119 and begin reading and worshipping God as you carefully read each verse. We must ask God to show Himself to us through His Word.
Second, unconfessed sin drains our love for God out of our hearts. The sensuality of television, living with a troubled or unclean conscience, these rob us of our freedom and joy in God’s presence. Thorough confession and turning from sin will restore the fellowship and love that has been broken.
Finally, we must contemplate the cross, and try to grasp how far God reached in order to save us. We must realize His great love toward us. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). The more we minimize our sin, the more we will minimize the cross; and the more we minimize the cross, the less appreciation we have for God. The first commandment is to love Him, but we can’t obey that command without divine intervention and help.
Let Us Pray
Father, cleanse our lives from the clutter that dampens our love for You. We confess the false loves that have become a cheap substitute for loving You. Show us, Lord, what stands in the way of obeying You and loving You with all of our being. May our love for You be constant, pure, and focused.
I pray for_____ . I ask that You will show them Your beauty so that that they might see that You’re deserving of our adoration, our worship, and the love of our hearts. Father, ____ is weak, and like the rest of us, prone to love the world—to love self more than to love You. Father, create within them a love for You that is greater than their love of sin. Cause them to remember that You loved us first; that despite our sin, Your favor, given to us in Jesus Christ, leads us to love You with our whole heart. Let that love be kept fresh through Your Word and our worship.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.