Hi friends, I thought I'd open a topic for a change and see how you all want to respond.
Most of us have heard that Jesus commanded us to Love God. But, that can seem very hard to grasp. Even Christians who have been in the faith for a long time can struggle to understand that.
So, how do you define "Loving God"? and how do you actively practice "Loving God"?
Do you think this is different for a new believer, versus someone who has been in the faith for a long time? What verses of scripture inspire you to Love God?
Looking forward to the discussion...
Edit: so, Jesus taught that we are to "Love the Lord your God with all....", right? What I'm getting at, is personalizing that. I'd like the community to discuss what that means from a real and personal point of view. Not merely theoretical.
Edit 2: many talk about "loving God" in these terms:
a) how they feel about God and his work in their lives.
b) how they love people.
But the command is to "Love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength" and the second command is "to Love our neighbor as ourself".
So, I reiterate my question, how do we Love God? What does that look like in an active on-going sense? It seems to me that if we are focused on people, we are missing the part about Loving God, right? What say you?
I agree, it is an act of total devotion. To fall short of it is to break the first commandment...something we are all guilty of. This also shows us deeply of our need for a Saviour. The fact that we can love God at all is a miracle.. PTL He makes it possible. I believe that we will each grow in this as our personal relationship deepens and grows richly in His Love. God is calling each one of us into a deeper relationship with Him.
I wonder if there is a distinguishing between loving God and loving our neighbour... Can they be separated? Without one the other is not complete. God is always relational. Although, loving God as the foundation of our being allows us to love others..so i can see the importance of that having to come first. I would have to agree that having a passive appreciation for God is not the same as loving Him....that sounds more like 'lukewarm' christianity. God calls us to something much deeper. He wants all of us. He knows how we need Him.... we need to know how much we need Him. When we get to the place that we know how much we need Him, and how we have fallen short of His glorious perfect standard and perfect Righteousness in all things..this is a great place to begin. This is where we start to get a glimpse of His Grace, Mercy and Compassion towards us.
Very thought provoking Scribe. Lord help us!
It's very warm here in Florida.. absolutely beautiful. We are enjoying our family vacation, I'll upload some pics when I get a chance.
I really like that.. thanks for sharing. It brings an understanding down to a personal level.
>>…how do you define "Loving God"?
Loving God for me is believing who He says He is and believing that He will do what He says He will do. Most importantly believing He loves me.
>>…how do you actively practice "Loving God"?
Regardless of my inadequacies God remains true and faithful to who He is and what He has called me to be. I believe the dreams and words He has spoken to me. I abide in the word that I may walk by faith and not by sight.
>>Do you think this is different for a new believer, versus someone who has been in the faith for a long time?
Indeed. Our love for God matures and goes from a love full of mainly zeal to a love that has zeal, but is more passionate and seasoned by God’s faithfulness. He has done so much for me and I will NOT forget what He has done for me. He has rescued me and kept me in His ways Way Toooooo many times to enumerate.
>>What verses of scripture inspire you to Love God?
Brother I would have to quote most of the bible here :), but these ones never cease to amaze me:
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 1 Cor. 1
I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he grazes among the lilies. Song of Solomon
6:3Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Matthew 26:39
Luke 23:34 (King James Version)
34Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. Revelation 19:11
David, that verse from 1 Corinthians is one of my favorite verses. It reminds me that God can use me:
"He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him"
I’ve been meaning to reply to this one for some time now, but never got round to it.
Our relationship with God differs in many ways, and based on the relationship, determines the level of love. What I mean by this is that we are His sons, His servants, His friends, His brothers, His slaves, etc.
The first place for me to start is to know that I am His son. This makes loving Him so much easier and makes me accept the other parts with ease, i.e that I am also His servant and His slave, etc. How can a servant, much less a slave, truly and deeply love his Master? Only if the relationship starts on another level first, that of the level of sonship.
Sure, it takes time, but deep love for God does develop and mature over time. It is also linked to the relationship of sinner to Saviour. Those who have been forgiven much, love much. The more I come to terms that I am a sinner / the depth and level of my sins before Him, WITHOUT comparing myself to others or becoming self-righteous by comparing myself to others, the more I see His deep love, grace and mercy toward me, and the more I feel His love and forgiveness, the deeper my love for Him manifests.
Also, the type of love in the New Testament that is the most important that God has for us and that we need to develop ourselves is the Greek word “agape” love. It is more important than “phileo” love and “philadelphia” love, even though the others have their place as well.
It always amazes me the exchange between Jesus and Peter in John 21.
Joh 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
Joh 21:16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Joh 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
I always thought this exchange was to heal Peter / address something in Peter due to Peter falling asleep 3 times in the Garden of Gethsemane (along with the other disciples), and also denying Jesus 3 times therafter. But this exchange here in John 21 goes much deeper, specifically because of the use of the Greek words for love.
First time –
Jesus: Simon, do you agape me more than the rest?
Peter: Yes, Lord, you know that I phileo you.
Jesus: Feed my lambs
Second time –
Jesus: Simon, do you agape me?
Peter: Yes, Lord, you know that I phileo you.
Jesus: Feed my sheep.
Third time –
Jesus: Simon, do you phileo me?
Simon, grieved because this third time Jesus asked him if he has phileo love for Him instead of agape love like the first two times: Lord, you know all things, you know that I phileo you.
Jesus: Feed my sheep.
What stands out for me is that Peter at that time was incapable of agape love for Jesus, only phileo love, but Jesus met Peter where he was with asking him the third time if Peter had phileo love for Jesus. God meets us where we are. This grieved Peter, but it was truth.
I think that Peter developed agape love over time and in his ministry, as in 1 Peter he does not refer to phileo love at all, only agape and philadelphia love. I think his heart changed as he obeyed Jesus’ commands to him in John 21. Feed my lambs, feed my sheep. Doing the work of a shepherd for God’s people develops in us the type of love that God has for us and truly requires of us, that superior agape love.
If we finally get to the point that we are truly slaves to Christ then we are free to love others more than we love ourselves because we won't exist anymore, but Christ through us. I think the verse is --- "My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." ---- Simply put, it isn't even about you and I anymore. We no longer exist to live for ourselves. Our own wants should ideally come secondary to the will of Christ. To my way of thinking. We are to become his slaves by giving over full reign of our entire being to him. Yes, we all fall short sometimes but we must get back up, dust ourselves off, and follow him.
I appreciate all of the input, but I guess what I am still seeking is personal testimony of what you actually do, not theory about what others should do. Rather, I'd like to invite you to share with your brothers and sisters what happens when you actively choose to love God and how that looks in real life.
One of the amazing things we have from the legacy of the Bible is the many living examples of people who loved God and lived out a testimony that is on permanent display for us in the scripture. But, what about you? What is your testimony?
1. Loving God with all my mind, with all my heart, with all my soul and with all my strength...
2. Loving my neighbor as ourself...
Easy to answer in the positive, practical and biblical way but the question still remains;
" CAN A SINFUL AND SELFISH ME LOVE THIS WAY ??? " see the following as an example of how to express love...
a. Die for my friend?
b. Returned good words and good deeds inspite of the abuses and harmed that was done?
c. Turn my other cheek, give my cloak and robe, give half of my family food, widows mite, etc?
Whose first and foremost in our mind, heart, soul and strength? God? our neighbor? our family? lost souls? self?
The Spirits aspect could be HIGH with love but the manifestation of love is HUNGRY for a drop of water.
LOOK SEE AND EXAMINE OURSELVES... HOW DO WE TAKE CARE OF OUR BODIES, OUR FAMILY, GODS CREATION? HOW MANY LOST SOULS IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD? TOWN ? COUNTRY AND STATE? OTHER COUNTRY? ALOT OF HOW? HOW ARE YOU MY BRETHREN? HOW CAN WE EXPRESS LOVE IN OUR OWN MAXIMUM WAY NOT THE MINIMAL WAY?