Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The God Who Expects Real Love

How do you know whether you really love God? This is the issue addressed in Deuteronomy 6.

Moses gives the familiar "Great Commandment": "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength" (Deut 6:5).

In short, love God with all you are. But what does it mean to love God with all that you are?

Moses elaborates:

"These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children."

"When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers ... be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery."

"Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name."

"Be sure to keep the commands of the LORD your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you."
These things aren't just more commandments. They're explanatory. They show what it looks like to "love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength."

Today it's common to try and dissect the Great Commandment, to explain what it means to love YHWH with all your heart versus all your strength. That's OK, but in many ways it's missing the forest for the trees. The point is that you are to love your God with all that you are. And this is what that looks like: Obeying God's law, meditating on it, passing it on to the next generation, and living in light of what God has done for you.

To God, love = obedience.

Or as one person put it, God's love language is obedience.

This shouldn't be new to us. Jesus said, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching" (John 14:23). James said true religion is "to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (1:27). It's not how you feel; it's what you do.

Actions speak louder than words, right? A man who says he loves his wife yet can't be bothered to "forsake all others" doesn't really love his wife. A man who says he loves God but has no interest in obeying his commandments doesn't really love God.

Do you really love God?

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