By His grace and power, we will:
Seek to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
–True Woman Manifesto Commitment #1
If you were to drop by my home for a visit, you might notice a curious object attached to the wood framing of my front door. It's about five inches long and not quite two and a half inches wide. This small, oblong container is called a mezuzah. I purchased it several years ago in Israel. It holds a small piece of parchment with Deuteronomy 6:4-9 inscribed on it with the word, “Shaddai,” Hebrew for “Almighty.” It is a common practice for observant Jewish homes to have this affixed to the door frame as a constant reminder of God's presence and of the central prayer of Judaism, the Shema.
Listen to the first portion of the Shema: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart” (Deut. 6:4-6).
As you read these words, do you find it curious—as I do—that we have to be instructed to love God? I mean, think about it. He's our creator and our source for existence. He is a merciful and gracious Savior. He has continually proven Himself to be a faithful and benevolent provider. His character and nature are demonstrated by such things as: moral purity, loving-kindness, truthfulness, goodness, patience, and self-sacrifice. When it comes to this amazing God, what is there not to love? And yet, throughout Scripture we see these instructions to love God repeated.
I think it is noteworthy that we find reference to hating and loving God encased in His Ten Commandments issued in Exodus 20:2-17. As God is communicating His law to the Israelites, He ties obedience to love and idolatry to hatred. This is the first direct reference to humanity “loving” God and it is placed within the context of exclusive obedience to Him.
This gives reason to pause and consider whether we use the terminology of “love” rather loosely. Is my exuberant proclamation of love for Christ backed up with more convincing proof than my visible demonstration of love for pizza?
What does “loving God” really look like? Can it be described, demonstrated, cultivated, or kindled? Can it be faked? How do you portray your love for God to others? How do you demonstrate your love to Him? I'd love to hear your comments.