Jesus Christ, our risen Lord and Savior, taught us how to love God in Matthew 22 v 37–we are to love God with our whole being, and He proclaimed it the first and greatest commandment, but can love be commanded?
In a follow-up statement in verse 39 of that same Chapter, these are the recorded words of Jesus Christ, “And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
So, what does it mean to love God? Is it a feeling or a decision? What is the relationship between loving God and loving our neighbor?
TSV family! Grab your Bibles, and open up your journals. It’s time to feast on the Verity that is the Word of God.
- What does it mean to love God? — 08:21
- Discuss the relationship between loving God and loving our neighbor— 32:41
- How do you love God with your heart, soul, mind, and strength?— 55:48
TSV family! Without knowledge of our sovereign God, it’s impossible to truly love Him with our whole being; and the only way to have such knowledge is through the 66 books of the Bible because they reveal His character, promises, and sovereign will.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” ~ Hebrews 4:12
This knowledge of our sovereign God ultimately leads us to obey His commandments–which demonstrates our love for God, as Christ tells us, first in John 14 v 15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments,” and then in v 23 of the same chapter, “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.”
So loving our sovereign God, though it is commanded, begins with a decision—an act of our will in response to His love for us, and He also equips us with the faith, strength, and wisdom to do all this, as we can see in the following passages of Scripture:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” ~ Ephesians 2 v 8
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ~ Philippians 4:12
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” ~ James 1 v5
When we love God with our whole being, it is easy to love our neighbors because we cannot love God without loving others as the Bible tells us in 1 John 4 v 20 and 21, “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” (Emphasis added)
This commandment to love others also extends to those whom we may perceive as enemies, as we see in Matthew 5 v 44-46, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
TSV family! Consider the Verities found in these passages of Scripture:
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” ~ Romans 5 v 8
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” ~ John 15 v 13
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” ~ 1 John 4:10
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” ~ 1 John 3:16
All His blessings!
If you are reading this but don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ and feel led to accept Him as your Lord and Savior, we invite you to do so, today.