Saturday, August 14, 2010

What is Love For God?

Not too long ago I heard a preacher friend of mine speak about how his life was revolutionized when he discovered a "truth" about his relationship with God.  He said he had been concerned that he wasn't doing enough for God, but God showed him that if all he ever did for the rest of his Christian life was to sit at God's feet and "love on Him", that God would be ok with that.  "After all," he said, "God made us 'human beings' rather than  'human doings'."  Nice cliche.

Although this could lead into a discourse on what God expects of us as Christians, right now I want to focus simply upon what it means to love God.  What is love for God?  I believe that for most people in the church today, it simply means having "warm fuzzies" for Jesus.  Some think the more emotional they get during worship, the more "in love" with Jesus they are.  Others think if they're really thankful for what God has done for them it proves they love Him.

Jesus said, " Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (Mk 12:30)  But what does that really mean?  The answer is fairly simple if we look to the Scriptures: "This is love for God: to obey his commands." (1Jn 5:3)  (Substitute "obey" for "love" in the verse from Mark and see how that changes your thinking.)  The preacher friend I mentioned earlier had it wrong.  You cannot do nothing but sit at God's feet and say you love Him.  And it really is not measured by emotions, warm feelings, or gratitude, as many believe (although we do develop an emotional attachment to those we truly love).  It is entirely possible to be "on fire" (or "passionate" as is popular to say in the church today) for God and still not love God ( Jesus said, "You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:  `These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.'" (Mt 15:7-8)).  The emotional intensity of our worship often has nothing to do with our "love" for God.  Let's measure our love for God by how well we obey Him.

In the words of Christian artist Don Francisco, "Love is not a feeling, it's an act of your will."