We’re supposed to love God. In fact, it’s commanded. Several times in Deuteronomy, Moses says, “Love the Lord your God.” Then Jesus, when asked what the greatest commandment is, says, yep, you guessed it, “Love the Lord your God.”
Various versions of how, or with what, we are supposed to love are given. The comprehensive list includes with all our heart and mind and soul and strength. In other words, with everything we are we are supposed to love.
It feels funny for that to be a command. I mean, if I were commanded to love my mom (whose birthday is/was June 13) or my wife (with whom I decided to be married on June 24th 25 years ago this year–more on that later) or my children, I would feel odd. I just love them. Except, of course, there are specific commands for me to love these four people as well. And I do, at various times, love them with every amount of effort I can find, working til exhausted at times, comforting broken hearts, thinking…you get the picture. Love is commanded, but I do it anyway.
So back to God. I am commanded to love, but when I think about creation, when I think about the four people I just listed who are part of my life, as well as my dad, as well as my friends (you), as well as every other material thing and the ability to think and the realization that in the middle of junk and cancer and genetic disorders and job reassignments, when I think about all this stuff, which are sometimes called blessings, I do acknowledge love. I do respond with “thank you.”
But you know what I just realized? How often have I said, “I love you God.”
I know. I’m a pastor. I’m a Christ follower. I’m supposed to get church, to get religion, to get God. But maybe I actually do need to be commanded to love God because sometimes I just absorb all the stuff and say thank you but forget that this is a relationship. And people with whom we have a relationship like to know how we feel, not just that we are grateful.
This post started with the intent of talking about having love be part of our everyday experience with God rather than being something we acknowledge on just on Sunday. But now I’m thinking that if I remembered to say “I love you, God” every Sunday, I’d be doing better than I am now.
So, what do you think? Should we tell God we love Him? Do we need the command? Does love for God come as easily as love for our child or our spouse? Is this whole conversation hopelessly abstract?
Let me know. I’m preaching on Sunday and should probably understand what I’m thinking.