I didn’t mean it until I meant it

We all know we are supposed to love God. Jesus said in Luke 10:27, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strengths and with all your mind; and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Well…. How the heck are we supposed to do that??? I mean….Loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength seems impossible! I know I’m supposed to love God more than my husband, but how does that even work? I can see Joel and talk to him, and he usually talks back. I know I’m supposed to love God more than my kids, but…can I? They are my greatest treasures. These are all questions that I’m sure most people have asked. Some of you might be thinking reading this, “Love God? I don’t even think about Him.” How exactly am I to obey this greatest commandment?
Here is a story I share every chance I get. In high school, I was sitting in a sermon where the preacher was talking about loving Jesus. I don’t remember any part of the sermon, but I do remember what I was thinking during the sermon.

“I can’t say, I love Jesus and mean it.”

I knew I wanted to love Jesus. I desired to please God and not just because I didn’t want to go to Hell. I genuinely believed God loved me, Jesus saved me, and I wanted to honor Him, but I still couldn’t say I love Jesus and mean it. I have always been very aware that God knows everything, and there is no sense in hiding things from Him.

So I prayed.

I confessed that I didn’t love Jesus. I didn’t not love Jesus. I was certainly thankful for his work on the cross because I knew I needed a Savior. I just asked God that I would one day be able to say it and mean it. It was that simple.

He didn’t answer it right away. It was a long and bumpy road full of mistakes and shame, confessing, and seeking Him. Here is the most beautiful part of the story.

He made the first move. God revealed how much He loved me!!! My life hasn’t been the same since. Once I was able to truly understand, and I’m not even sure I will ever be able to truly understand God’s love for me, I was able to say it back. I love Jesus because He first loved me. I have never felt closer to God in my life, but that is what the Gospel is all about.
It’s because of Jesus we even have a chance to get near God. It’s because of Jesus and the cross that we can have a hope of growing in our understanding of who God is.It’s because of Jesus I even have a CHANCE of loving God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Now…. do I? I’m almost convinced that only Jesus can love Him that way, but I can continue to confess that I don’t love Him enough and ask that He help me to love Him. Help me to see Him. I can say this; He answers these prayers all the time. I can say I love Him more today than I did a year ago. I can most definitely say He is faithful to show me more about Himself and His goodness and grace as I seek Him. It’s his faithfulness that helps me love him.

So, what now?

Ask Him for help. If you don’t even think about God, pray that God will help you think about Him. If you don’t love God, pray that He will show you how to love Him. If you don’t love Him like you should, pray that He will help you love Him like you should. We all have to start somewhere. I have found that confessing and asking for help is a great first move. I can almost pinky promise you this….the more you know God, the more you get to know Jesus and how much he cares for you and how much He is FOR you…loving Him becomes easier and easier.

My prayer for tonight is this:
Dear God, I pray that all eyes that read this know that you are a good God who loves us perfectly. I pray you help us to love you with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. I pray you show up big in our lives. Please, God, show up big in our families. Show up in our workplace. Show up in our relationships. Help us to think of you more and more and more. Please make Yourself known to us in our daily lives. Please have mercy on us and speak to us in a way where we can know it can only be you. Thank you for the work you are already doing in our lives. You are perfect and holy. I pray these things over every person who reads this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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