When asked which of God’s commands were most important, Jesus gave a simple answer:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)
Loving God is the very first directive of our Christian lives. But what does this love look like? As flawed humans, we don’t love God in the perfect manner in which He loves us. Our love is reciprocal; it responds to the amazing grace and kindness He has shown through Christ Jesus.
Love is not a feeling. Emotions are part of love—a response to its nature—but emotions aren’t the stuff from which love is made. Paul shows us what love is in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
These actions are the foundational elements of the love God exemplifies—the same love He expects from us.
Even so, there are seasons in life when we struggle to love God the way we know we should. In those seasons, we need to remind ourselves of the truth and take the following actions.
Pray for renewed desire for the Lord.
God understands our humanity. Jesus Himself inhabited a human body in order to fulfill His mission on earth! Because God understands our weaknesses, it is futile to try to hide our struggles from His sight. If you’re struggling to love God, be honest with Him! Tell Him the truth by pouring out your heart to Him. It is better to bare your heart to the Lord than to allow bitterness to hamper your walk with Him.
Ask God to renew your desire for Him. Ask Him to grant you excitement for His Word, His presence and obedience to His commands. This is a prayer He delights to answer! You might feel overwhelmed by your circumstances and unable to bring your heart into alignment with God, but you don’t have to worry about making that happen. Bring your heart to Him and allow His Spirit to transform it.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
James 4:8 tells us: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” This is a promise! If you feel distant from the Lord, take the step of faith and draw near to Him.
“Drawing near” might sound abstract, but it simply means you’re putting yourself in a position to hear God. Just as you can’t hear a friend’s voice if you don’t sit close to her, you can’t hear God’s voice if you don’t sit still, read His words and listen for His direction. We move so fast in today’s society that we forget how to listen for God. This promise to reward “drawing near” should motivate you to make it a daily habit.
Don’t condemn yourself if you’re struggling to understand love for God in this season. Berating yourself won’t produce lasting change in your heart; it will just make you resentful and even more distant. Reject the Enemy’s lies about your Savior and choose Christ! Draw near. Be still. Listen for His voice. Accept His love, and you’ll learn to love Him in return.