Do You Love God?
“Love the LORD your God, walk in all His ways, keep His commandments, hold fast to Him, and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Joshua 22:5
As a pastor’s wife I have often heard people say, “I’ve always been a Christian” or, “I’ve always loved God.” Many people who say those things are living in ignorance. As usual, I take myself down memory lane. Here’s how it was with me.
As a child I always attended church. I learned so much in Sunday School about God and Jesus that I could tell anyone all the stories of the Bible. I knew about God and also about Jesus. Then as I got into my teens none of that mattered. My conscience bothered me at times, but having fun was what really mattered.
Then when I was married and had children, I finally got back into the habit of going to church and taking my children was important to me. I was faithful to singing in the choir and being a part of the women’s group and even teaching Sunday School. But, if someone had asked me, “Do you LOVE God,” I would have answered, “Of course.” If they had asked me, “What does it mean to love God?” I wouldn’t have known the answer, would you?
Joshua 22:5 gives us the true answer. We should live our life according to the Bible; we should stand according to His every word. Then we should serve God with all of our heart and soul; in other words we should always obey God in everything we do, not because we ‘should’, but because we want to; because our heart longs to make him happy. Do we do that or feel that way?
What Joshua said in the Old Testament, isn’t just for that time; it’s even a stronger command in the New Testament. In Mark 12:30-31 Jesus said, “And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Then he goes on to say, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Now, isn’t this a little too much? I guess it isn’t because Jesus finished with this, “There is no other commandment greater than these.”
We are commanded to love God with every part of our being and love others around us, because this is what God wants for us and for our betterment. Remember the Bible tells us that obedience is better than sacrifice (I Samuel 15:22). It took me forty years before I could understand what it really meant to ‘love God’. I still knew who God was and who Jesus was, but I had not given my heart to him.
When I asked Jesus into my heart one day, my life took a big turn-around. I’m not the person I was and I have never looked back. My life really became new; all I could think about was the Lord. All the things I learned about as a child came back to me along with understanding. I have tried my best to follow God’s commandment. “Love the LORD your God, walk in all His ways, keep His commandments, hold fast to Him, and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Joshua 22:5
This makes it sound like you have to be perfect to love God. That’s not true – all though God wishes we could be, but only Jesus was or ever will be perfect. So he made a way for us to be part of his family and that way is Grace. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God”, (Ephesians 2:8). When you realized you acted out of what God wanted for you, just tell him you are sorry and to forgive you, that’s it; he has forgiven you through his grace and that is the end of it.
God loves you so much that He made a place in his family through his grace and wants you to be with him forever. In turn, we need to love God with all our being and long to spend eternity with Him.