Think of someone you love. Your all-time best friend, parent, or sibling. Someone that makes you feel loved, that provides and cares for you, makes you laugh, and you can talk about anything with them and you’ve gone through all the ups and downs together… Got a person in mind?
As Christians, we are called to love God. In fact, Jesus says that loving God is the number one most important thing we must do in our lives (Matt 22:37:40). And yet, that can be pretty difficult for us to do, right? To put perspective on just how difficult this can be for us, let me ask: do you love God as much as you love that person you were just thinking about two seconds ago? And before quickly answer that, compare time spent with that person vs. God. Compare how well you know that person vs. how well you know God. Who do you go to first with any struggle? I think you get the idea…
Why can it be so difficult to love God as the number one thing in our lives? Let me suggest a potential reason could be wrong motivations. Without even thinking, we can love God just because our parents love God, because a mentor of ours loves God, or our friends love God. We can love Him based completely on an emotional experience. If our love for Him is built off of an emotional week at camp or someone else’s love of God, that will only lead to a fragile faith. We’re starting a new series called Reasons to Love, to look at the real reasons why we should love God. If we know, understand, and believe in the purpose as to why we should love God, we’ll have real drive and passion to make it happen. We can’t love Him perfectly in these broken bodies, but with the right purpose, loving Him number one won’t be as much of a challenge as it may seem.
Before we dive in, let me define what I mean when I say we should love God. Love is a big word with a variety of versions. I love my kitties, I love pizza, and I love my wife Jenna — these cannot all mean the same thing. The type of love that God wants from us and the type of love He deserves is: knowing Him intimately by spending time with Him, worshipping and praising Him for who He is and what He does, put Him first above all, to desire Him and His word, and to obey Him. That’s a bit of a tall order. This is not merely loving a slice of pepperoni pizza. If we are going to love God like this, namely making Him number one in our lives, the reasons to love Him better be good, am I right? As we go through this series, I am confident that these reasons why we should give God our love will be absolutely above and beyond worthy of our love.
For this first week, I want to start by looking at three different ways God has revealed Himself to us. It may seem a tad bit out of left field here, but we’ll circle it back to this question: why should we love God?
First, God has revealed Himself to us through His creation. Romans 1:20 says,
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
We can look around this beautiful world and see how God has shown Himself to us. He is the creative Designer of all things. Everything did not just come from nothing - He made this universe, this world, and everything in it. If you discovered an I-phone in the middle of a wheat field, based on it’s design and complexity, you could safely assume that it had a maker. Taking a detailed look at life screams of a Creator - studying the eye, DNA, and the intricacies of our own bodies will leave anyone marveled and convinced of an Intelligent Designer (*see more evidence for this in another blog that was posted HERE).
Second, God has revealed Himself to us through His Word. The Bible treats God’s existence as undeniable, assumed fact. Genesis 1:1 plainly states that God created everything, and in Exodus 3:14 God tells Moses “I AM.” the Bible doesn’t go into intense detail proving God’s existence, because it assumes we know that to be true. If old Albert Einstein wrote an autobiography (and maybe he did?), he would not have spent time proving he really existed — and neither does God in His autobiography. Throughout the Bible, God is alive, speaks truth, and reveals Himself to His people. (*we did a series not too long ago revealing 10 evidences the Bible is a trustworthy document, which will only strengthen this point — if you missed it, check it out that series, starting HERE).
Third, God has revealed Himself to us through His Son Jesus. Skeptics of God say, “if God was real, why wouldn’t He just come on down here and prove Himself?” That’s Jesus. John 1:1-5, 14 reveals that God became flesh. The existence of Jesus cannot be argued against, and thousands of people witnessed Him prove Himself to be God — miracles, world-changing teachings, fulfilling OT prophecy, dying and resurrecting.
God revealed Himself to us through His creation, His Word, and His Son - now what does that have to do with our initial question, why should we love God? We should love God because He is truth. God is real. He is as real as you and I, and He revealed Himself to be very real. But… do you ever (even if subconscious) think of God as myth or fairy tale? Really consider your answer here… When you read from the Bible, are you completely bought in to it’s truth? When you pray, do you truly believe He is listening to your every word and thought? If we aren’t completely convinced that God is the Creator of all things, that He is alive and real — we’ll never make Him a number one priority. We’ll never love Him because maybe we don’t think He’s there in the first place. And doubt is okay - a relationship with God certainly requires faith - it just takes some soul-searching and seeking to see what we truly believe. But if we do soul-search and come to a place that we trust in the truth of God’s reality, then we will believe God’s Word as truth. And when we believe God’s Word is truth, we look inside and see a God that loves us tremendously. Here, we become increasingly convinced that He deserves all the love we possibly have to offer.