Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Love for God

This Sunday, I went to 2 different churches. Both of them were talking about the first and greatest commandment that Jesus gives to us. I kinda think God was telling me something.

Both sermons pointed out the completeness that the commandment demanded. Jesus says to love God with your heart, mind, soul, and strength. That means to love Him with everything. The passage that Jesus is quoting from goes even further. Deuteronomy 6:5 tells us with what we are to love God. Verses 6-9 says when. It says to teach your children to love God. Love Him when you sit. When you walk. When you lay down. When you rise. This reminds me of a song that says, "I only think of you on two occasions/ That's day and night." God has covered all the bases. We are supposed to love Him all the time with all of us.

But I have a small beef with that, and it's with the application. It's one thing to say to love, but what does that look like? Pastor Justin pointed out that Jesus' answer to the scribe was to love, not to obey. I thought, "Well, of course the commandment doesn't say obey. It's a commandment. It's implied that you're to obey it." I think I understand his point more now that I'm thinking it over. God doesn't want blind obedience. He wants us to love Him. If we keep every command that God ever gave Man, if we go to church every week, if we join ministry and lead thousands of people to the Lord, but don't have love for God, do you know what that makes us? 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 says that all we are is noise. We are nothing without love.

That was God's beef with the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2. In verses 2-3, Jesus tells the church that He knows the good they do, He knows their hatred of wickedness, He knows that they have even suffered for His name's sake and yet persevere through it all. In verse 4, however, he tells them that they have forgotten their first love. Christianity to them had become service for God, which took the place of a love for God.

I don't want you to think that I am saying don't do. I am saying don't equate doing with loving. We can do and do and do and wear ourselves out without loving. They do not mean the same thing. I'm saying don't do instead of love, but do because of love. I think that's what Jesus meant when He said in John 14:21, "Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me." That's how we show that God dwells in us and empowers us to love Him and to love others.

That still doesn't answer the question of what it looks like to love God with all of you all the time. And this is why I was slightly hesitant to write this blog. I don't really have an answer. If I had an answer, though, I think that would defeat the purpose of the previous three paragraphs. If I said to love God is to do this, that, and these, I'm no better than the Ephesians. I think the main reason I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this commandment is because my natural inclination is to have instructions on how to do something. Love doesn't quite work like that. My prayer is that you, the reader, and I would love God with all of our being all of the time, whatever that may look like.