each day

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.


4 responses to “each day

  1. I’m not sure verbalization of our love for God is the point of the command. However, just as with our earthly lovers, even if my every thought, word, and action is an expression of love, it just won’t do to follow the lead of the man who argued he didn’t need to tell his wife he loved her–he had told her so on their wedding day and nothing had changed. Articulation of what’s in my heart keeps it close to the surface, out in the open. Telling God “I love you” is an aspect of keeping me honest in evaluating whether I’m obeying the command. “Cognitive disonance” (I think that’s the term I want) will follow sooner or later (sooner, if my heart is tender toward God’s Spirit) if I express to God that which is not truly reflective of my heart’s condition.

  2. 1. We tell God we love Him, not because He needs to hear it (if we do, He knnows it right?), but to remind ourselves.

    2. Thank you probably leads to I love you. But lately the thing I’m most thankful for is His love.

    3. Until recently I’ve always struggled with the concept of loving God more than the people around me, my family that I can see hear and touch. But my level of desperation for Him lately has made that mmore of a reality. The interesting thing is that my love and affection for my family has grown proportionatly.

  3. Beyond telling Him, “I love you, God,” I find that pure adoration reminds me a bit of why I love Him. So often our love is based on what we receive. God is worthy of praise and adoration because of His nature- because He is holy, and righteous and just and creative and the list could go on. The more I consider the very nature of God, the deeper my love grows. Perhaps it is then that I realize the extent of His grace toward me. I know in my prayer times I have spent more time recently simply adoring and affirming his qualities. I’m sure it does more for me than for Him but I takes me deeper. AS I think about it, my wife and family and others I love enjoy hearing affirmations of their qualities. “I love you,” can become routine (a good one) but to think about the qualities and affirming those takes “I love you” to a deeper level.

  4. God knows we can easily love many other things and not Him. In this modern world, there are so many distractions, so many other things to love. But yet, all of them are unworthy loves. Only God alone is worthy of our love, our total love. A command is good and perhaps needed, for us to be aligned again to know that He alone is worthy to be loved and to be loved totally.