Updated: Jul 27, 2020
Today, we want to discuss the priority of loving God. The thing God is looking for from us most is love. We previously mentioned the priority of the first and great commandment, but today we want to look at it in more detail.
In Matthew 22:36-38, Jesus says that loving the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind is the first and the great commandment. Let’s let this sink in. This is God Himself saying that His first priority for us is for us to love Him. If it’s His first priority, then it needs to be our first priority so let’s look at what this means. What does first commandment mean? First refers to the fact that it is before all other commandments. It is at the top of the list and if we do not do it we are unable to do the others. What does great commandment mean? Great speaks of its importance; it is distinguished above the others. Therefore, we need to get this commandment, loving Him, to be first, before all other things in our hearts, souls, and minds and it has to be to us the greatest thing we do; it needs to become our definition of success, loving Him.
What does it mean to love God and how do we do it? In order to answer this question it is helpful to have an understanding of what love is. Loving God is valuing Him so much that you prefer Him above everything else. In order to do this, we really need to know Him and His love for us. It is really hard to value and prefer someone that you do not know very well or spend time with. Therefore, loving God starts by giving Him your time. We have to block off time to be with Him to get to know Him through prayer, Bible reading, and worship. It’s during these three activities that we really get to know God, build history with Him, and grow affection and value for Him that leads to preferring Him. Jesus Himself said that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments. (John 14:15) This shows that loving Him will cause us to do what He says. It is not just forced obedience because you have to, but submission because you want to.
We love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) As we grow to understand the depths and aspects of His love for us, it will cause us to love Him back. In order to do that, we have to spend time with Him so that He can show us His love for us and show us who He is.
Finally, Jesus points out there are different aspects of loving Him or places we can love Him from. He says love with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Your heart speaks of your emotions. Thus, loving Him involves your emotions. Your mind is what you choose to meditate on and think about. Your soul speaks of your desires and motivations, the deepest places of yourself. Your strength speaks of your physical body and how you use it. We get to learn how to love Him with and from all of these areas. This is a lifelong journey that requires our whole being.
Ultimately, we want to encourage you to make it your life’s aim to love God with your whole self. Let that be your greatest passion, desire, and motivation. Let loving Him be your definition of success.