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How We Love God

Weekly Devotionals

How We Love God

Mark 12:30: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength

Last time I wrote a short devotional on “Faith & Reason” (Feb 2nd 2015) and the importance of engaging our intellect in the exercise of our faith. The mind and the intellect are an essential part of our faith, and we should not neglect it. But for faith to be complete, there needs to be a connection between the head and the heart as we come to a place of surrendering obedience. The same  scriptures that commands us to love our God with all of our minds, commands us also to love Him with all of our hearts and souls.

So, what does it mean to love God with all of our hearts? Have you stopped to think about it? Is it even an attainable goal to love in such a complete way? In the great commandment there are two recipients of love, God and your neighbor. Your neighbor is your fellow human being and therefore, we are commanded to love them on an equal basis as we love ourselves. We are equals.  But God is not our equal. He is greater than mankind in every possible way for He is our creator. Surely the qualifier of love towards God has to be different than how we love our neighbor. So the scripture elevates that qualifier to a plenitude seemingly impossible to attain, and at first it overwhelms me…is it even possible?

And in a moment of epiphany, I realized that the reason I was having such a hard time conceptualizing this love towards God is because I was subconsciously projecting my existential, often flawed love experience towards fellow humans onto God, and therefore I couldn’t really internalize the difference. A dare to ask though, don’t we often make that mistake? Especially in our generation, in the pursuit of contextualization, we often over casualize our relationship with God.

Our love for God is not equal to our love for our neighbor. Our love for God is first and foremost reverential, and thus it takes the nature of worship.

And what is worship? Let me borrow from a definition that I really love, by the famed archbishop William Temple: “Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God. It is the quickening of the conscience by his holiness; the nourishment of mind with his truth; the purifying of imagination by his beauty; the opening of the heart to his love; the surrender of will to his purpose—all this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable.”

Do you know anybody in this world who loves or has loved God in this way? YES! Jesus did, and as a man. He showed us how. He
came to this world as a human and exemplified his love for God, by completely submitting his will to the Father in surrendering obedience. He showed that it is possible. We can love God with all our hearts and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength.