Theology Thursday: Measuring Our Love for God

Words spelled out for loving God

The Bible shows a multitude of ways in which God has shown, and continues to show, His love for His people. With both clear promises and illustrated events in the lives of biblical characters, a firm sense of His dedicated commitment to unconditionally love and care for His people has been evident for thousands of years.

But how does one show love back to God? Can a God who knows all about us, even the deep recesses of our hearts and the truth of our motivations, truly take notice of tangible efforts in how we show spiritual growth and our love to Him? There are a few lessons to be learned from the pattern of life we have been given in the Bible.

Loving God With Unconditional Commitment

There is a clear and challenging pathway to love God, as revealed by Jesus. When asked what the greatest commandment in the whole Bible was, Jesus said it was to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these,” (Mark 12:30-31, NIV). This way of loving cuts to the core of our very being.

Demolishing any rationalization or debate about the evidence of our love for God, there is a level of surrender that goes far beyond convenience and preference. A deep commitment to prioritize loving God makes our love for Him the main priority. Committed godly love is not simply at the top of the list of life’s priorities, it is the list. Everything else we do, say or become is an outgrowth of a committed, carefully monitored and constantly recalibrated love for our God.

Loving God Through Intentional Behaviors

An old saying that most of our grandparents probably knew and used is, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Believed to be published first in Henry G. Bohn’s “A Handbook of Proverbs” in 1855, it has been a call to integrity and purpose that still lives today. This concept is made very clear through a letter from John where he clearly states how to love God, know who loves God and who does not.

He stated, “In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome,” (1 John 5:3, NIV). We attempt to justify, complain and minimize how hard life can be, but a life lived in simple, focused commitment to keeping God’s commands gives us a sense of freedom in our relationship with our Creator. The burdens of obedience come when we try to please both the world and God.

Love God by Loving Others

Perhaps one of the most significant challenges to Christian faith and practice is the unconditional love of others. Notice that Jesus tied the love of God to the love of others. John also brings to light this mandate as he states, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love,” (1 John 4:7-8, NIV).

A lack of love for others is a lack of knowing who God is and what He desires. Our selfish, conditional love has no room to dwell in the presence of a sacrificial understanding of God loving us. Our intentions match God’s best attempts to show love for the Creator. Our love for God is tangibly measured in our level of commitment to obedience and love for His people. It appears simple but it is the lifelong ambition of all followers of Christ.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.