26 – How to Love God More Deeply
A UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLE
This “organizing principle” – however one might word it -has application for us all. In other words, we each should be committed to our relationship with Christ as our first priority. We each should be committed to a life of devotion and study of God. Then, after we are filled up to the overflow with enough Jesus for ourselves and some left over to give away, we go do whatever it is we are called to do – practice law, fix plumbing, sell, manage, mow lawns, drive a truck, perform accounting or whatever.
In other words, in God’s economy paying attention to our relationship with Him necessarily takes priority over the work He has called us to do. Beginning a work day without some time for reflection and planning leads to a day of wasted motion and fatigue.
In the same way, if we do not spend time praying through our concerns and listening for the voice of God in Scripture, throughout that day we will not enjoy the guidance that comes from standing regularly in the presence of our Maker. We won’t be salt and light if through neglect we lose our flavor and let our batteries run down.
So, how can a man learn to love God more deeply?
FINDING THE RIGHT LOVE LANGUAGE
Recently, my wife, Patsy, and I had the serendipity of learning about Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages.
I had to chuckle. For twenty three years I have loved Patsy the way I want to be loved. I feel loved when Patsy spends large blocks of quality time with me. Since that’s how I want to be loved, I assumed that was the best way to love her. So, I have smothered Patsy with long talks and doing things together.
For twenty three years Patsy has loved me the way she wants to be loved. She feels loved when I help out with household chores, run errands, or do small acts of kindness, so that’s how she loved me. If I needed a clean shirt I might say, “That’s okay, I’ll just re-press this one. Nobody will know.” She would always say, “No, that’s okay. Really. I’d love to run up to the cleaners for you.” In other words, we have loved the way we want to be loved but really didn’t know how the other wanted to receive love.
Here’s the question: Do you know how God wants to be loved? Are you loving God the way He wants to be loved? I fear we have not thought deeply enough about how He wants us to love Him. How does God want to be loved?
LOVE GOD WITH INTENSITY
The first way God wants to be loved is with intensity.
A lawyer told Jesus that the way to eternal life was to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” Jesus commended his answer (Lk 10:25-28).
Job’s wife said, “Why don’t you just curse God and die.” Job replied, “Oh, you are speaking like a foolish woman. Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him!”
When persecuted, Jeremiah wrote, “But if I say I will not mention Him or speak anymore in His name, His word is in my heart like a burning fire, shut up in my bones! I am weary of holding it in! Indeed, I cannot!”
Wouldn’t you love to have that kind of passion for God? To love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind is to love God with the totality of our being, with the sum of our strength, with every ounce of our energy. We are to bring an intensity to the loving of God.
WHY WE CAN LOVE GOD AT ALL
We can’t love God with intensity because we are good or strong. We love God because He reached His loving hand down into the slough of human progress and pain to capture our souls through the grace of Christ.
The Bible puts it this way: “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 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 4:9, 10).
In other words, we love Him because He first loved us. Jesus Christ is God’s message of love to our broken generation.
LOVING GOD LEADS TO OBEDIENCE
Jesus said that if we love God in our hearts, we will obey Him with our lives,
If you love me, you will obey what I command (John 14:15). Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me (John 14:21). If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching (John 14:23). He who does not love me will not obey my teaching (John 14:24). Obedience must be the trademark of the man who would say, “I love God.” How can we obey God? By loving Him and then living under the authority of His holy Word.
Thank God if you love Him. If you want to love Him more, draw closer to Christ. The loving of God must triumph as the top priority for every true follower of Christ.
1. With which of these three statements do you most identify?
I love God with everything that is within me and long to know Him more intimately. I have faith in Christ but I have been distracted by the world. I find the idea of loving and knowing God appealing, but I just can’t seem to pull it off. How should you react to your answer?
2. Consider the following ideas to bring you into a deeper personal relationship with God:
Get up before dawn, sit in your backyard, look into the sky, read Psalm 8 with a flashlight, and contemplate the majesty and glory of God. Spend some time each day for the next month reading and re-reading the book of John. Go do something nice for someone else as the hands and feet of Christ. Borrow a hymnal from your church and sing songs to the Lord in private. Read a devotional book like My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers. Read The One Year Bible (365 short daily readings). Read Knowing God by J. I. Packer or The Holiness of God by R. C. Sproul. Buy a praise music tape and play it in your car. Sing along if you like.
Business leader, author, and speaker, Patrick Morley has been used throughout the world to help men and leaders think more deeply about their lives, to be reconciled with Christ, and to equip them to have a larger impact on the world. © 1996. Patrick M. Morley. All rights reserved.