Love Your God

April 9th 2024

Love Your God

The God of Scripture

How do you define success? What standard do you use?

The world offers a variety of metrics—the neighborhood you live in, the kind of car you drive, the size of your 401K, the number of social media followers you have—but God has a different one.

Jesus reveals it in Mark 12:29–30:

 “Jesus answered, ‘The foremost is, ‘Hear, Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’”

Success, according to God, looks like giving Him your undivided and unrivaled affection. It looks like loving Him with the highest, widest, deepest, and purest love.

Jesus explains what that means and how to accomplish it in verses 29–30.

It all starts with loving the right God.

He’s our God, which indicates He’s a relational God. He’s intimate, personal, and knowable. He’s also “one.” That speaks of unity in plurality. One God in three persons. This hints at the Trinity. It also tells us that God is one of a kind. He’s unlike any other god. He’s to be treated like no other and loved like no other.

As Exodus 15:11 says, “Who is like you among the gods, o Lord? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?” Also, Nehemiah 9:6, “You alone are the Lord. You have made the heavens, the heaven of heaven with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in it. You give life to all of them and the heavenly host bows down before you.”

This is the God we’re meant to love.

But with what kind of love?

The Right Kind of Love

Jesus describes the right kind of love in verse 30.

“Love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The preposition “with,” repeated four times in verse 30, indicates the source of something. Thus, our love is meant to be an inside-out love, flowing from the very core of our being.

The specific word for love that Jesus uses describes a love of action, not just feeling. It’s the highest and greatest form of love. A love of intelligence, purpose, will, sacrifice, choice, commitment, and dedication.

And notice how Jesus commands us to love God: “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

“Heart” refers to the core of the person. It implies a love from the root of your being. “Soul” speaks of the seat of emotions. “Mind” relates to the will or purpose. “Strength” reflects physical capacity or physical energy.

The cumulative force of this is that we’re meant to love God with a love that encompasses everything. Nothing is excluded, nothing left out. It’s an all-out love, an all-in love, an all-of-me love. It’s a love that springs from deep within and consumes the entire person. It’s to love with all your being, with all you are, with all you have.

This isn’t a divided love, or a distracted love. It’s not a leftover love. It’s the first and best love. Loving God with this kind of love has always been God’s plan for man. It’s always been His standard for human success.

The Record of Scripture

Consider the following biblical record:

Deuteronomy 10:12 – “Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him…”

Deuteronomy 11:13 – “It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you, to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul…”

Deuteronomy 13:3 – “For the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Deuteronomy 19:9 – “If you carefully observe all this commandment which I command you today, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all His ways always…”

Deuteronomy 30:6 – “Moreover, the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live…”

Nehemiah 1:5 – “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments.”

Joshua 22:5 – “Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God and walk in all His ways.”

Joshua 23:11 – “So take diligent heed to yourselves to love the Lord your God.”

Ephesians 6:24 – “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.”

James 1:12 – “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

James 2:5 – “Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”

1 Peter 1:8 – “and though you have not seen Him, you love Him…”

Romans 8:28 – “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him…”

The Object of Love

If this is God’s standard, how are you doing? Are you loving Him with this kind of love? With everything you are and everything you possess? With a love that comes from the core of who you are?

The love that God requires is the greatest, highest, purest, and noblest form of love. And that’s appropriate because its Object is the greatest and the highest and the purest—namely, God Himself.

May you love Him with that kind of love and thus live a life of radical success.

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Author: Jeremiah Dennis

A Southerner at heart, Jeremiah loves travel, exercise, and missions. And he's always looking for opportunities to practice his Spanish and French.