Love the Lord, Your God

Most of us have either heard or experienced how difficult long-distance relationships can be; never really seeing each other; losing focus and priority of the relationship. Several years ago, as a U.S. Marine, I was spending a lot of time deployed to various places around the world. The burden of these separations on my family and my marriage was immense. We would go long periods of time without talking with one another.

I had no real idea of what was going on in the lives of my wife or my children. We loved each other, but it was difficult to focus on and nurture that love when we never got to see each other. Our relationship with God is no different. No relationship can thrive in isolation, and just like every other relationship, our relationship with God only works if we make it a priority.

In Matthew 22:36-38, Jesus responded to the Pharisees, who had asked Him to expound for them the greatest of God’s commandments. He said, “Love the LORD, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” The greatest commandment that God gives us is that we are to love Him. But how can we possibly demonstrate our love to He who is Love himself? The answer? The same way that we love anyone else, we make them a priority in our life. Consider the following;

Be Present – Make an effort to spend time with God each and every day. That will be difficult at first, but that is exactly why it is so meaningful. Keeping the commitment to spend time with God shows Him that you have made Him a priority in your life. James wrote, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Dedicating some time each morning to praying and reading God’s Word will do wonders to strengthen your relationship with Him.

Quality over Quantity – There is no set quota for the amount of time that we need to spend with God because spending time with God is not simply placing a check in the box to fulfill a requirement. When we spend time with God, He wants our full attention. He wants us to tell Him about the things weighing on our minds, and He wants us to listen to what He has to say to us. Paul wrote, in his letter to Ephesus, to walk wisely and make the best use of our time. We only have a finite amount of time in this life, don’t waste it just going through the motions. Dig in and give God everything that you have.

Make a Sacrifice – God doesn’t need our money or our earthly things, but He does desire that we love Him, and one way that we can show our love for God is to demonstrate our willingness to part with the things that we give value. David said he would not bring an offering before God that cost him nothing. Our willingness to sacrifice for God demonstrates His priority in our lives and helps us to focus on what is really important.

More than Words – Just as in any relationship, it is far easier to tell God that we love Him than it is to show God that we love Him. James expressed that our love for God ought to drive us to do good works in His name. Likewise, Jesus taught His disciples on multiple occasions that to love Him was to serve those whom He loved. As we seek to demonstrate our love to God, let us look at the world around us and see how we might share God’s love with others.

God doesn’t ask us to be perfect, but He does desire that we love Him with everything that we are. He doesn’t want to be a sideshow act that we pull out when we get bored. He wants to be at the forefront, in the mix, for the good times and the bad. God shows us that He loves us each and every day; as He breathes into us, daily, the breath of renewed life; as He causes the sun to rise and fall, and the stars to illuminate. His very Spirit holds back the wave of despair that threatens to engulf our entire world; through His varied grace, God demonstrates His love for us.

As we consider how we might seek the heart of God, let us endeavor to start our search by making God a priority in our lives.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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