Without love to God, again, there can be no true honour to him. A man is never hearty in the honour he seems to render to another whom he does not love; so that all the seeming honour or worship that is ever paid without love, is but hypocritical. And so reason teaches, that there is no sincerity in the obedience that is performed without love; for if there be no love, nothing that is done can be spontaneous and free, but all must be forced. So without love, there can be no hearty submission to the will of God, and there can be no real and cordial trust and confidence in him. He that does not love God will not trust him: he never will, with true acquiescence of soul, cast himself into the hands of God, or into the arms of his mercy. - Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits
I love you, O LORD, my strength. Psalm 18:1
We are not saved if we have no love for God. It’s not enough to believe in him. Not enough to be afraid of him. There are only two kinds of people in the world – those who love God and those who don’t. The first and greatest commandment is You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. So if we don’t love God, we violate the first and most basic commandment.
We love because he first loved us and gave himself for us. Love for God is a gift from him. We are not born loving God. We are born at enmity with him. It’s not “natural.” The natural man has no love for God. We naturally love sin. But when Jesus saves us he gives us love for himself and the Father. If you have the smallest amount of genuine love for God you’re saved. If you love the Father and Jesus today, it’s because Jesus gave you that love. What an incredible gift!
Because we love Jesus, we’re not happy when our love for him wanes. We are concerned when our hearts grow cold. The sign of a Pharisee is serving God externally with a heart that is far from him. Genuine believers abhor serving God this way. Because we love Jesus we want to please him and bring joy to him, sacrifice for him and lay down our lives for him.
Love for Jesus makes us generous, joyful, patient, and loving toward others. It is love for Jesus that compels us and propels us.
How do we cultivate our love for Jesus? A few suggestions:
- Read his word– the more we know him the more we love him.
- Regularly meditate on his incredible love for you in saving and adopting you as his own child.
- Continually thank and praise him
- Fellowship with other believers who love Jesus – love is contagious
- Ask Jesus for more love for him
- Do whatever acts of love you can for others.