This article, drawing from Deuteronomy 6:4-5, shows that loving God involves heart, mind, and emotions. This love is comprehended from the gospel, daily meditation on Scripture.

Source: The Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, 2013. 2 pages.

How We Live in Love toward God and Christ

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: and thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Deuteronomy 6:4-5


Our Lord and great Prophet told us that this is the first and greatest commandment: to love God (Mark 12:29). Deuteronomy 6:4-5 calls us to turn from all other gods and give sole allegiance to the Lord, because He is the “one” God and “there is none else” (Deut. 4:39). Love moves us to cling to Him for He is our life (Deut. 30:20). Augustine said, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our heart is restless until it rests in Thee.”

Love God with all that you are. Some people view love as just a good feeling someone gives you. Others think that love is a mere choice of the will, gutting it of affection. Scripture makes it clear that love cannot be limited to a particular part of man, but must rule all of man’s inner life and outer activity: “with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” The “heart” and “soul” refer to thoughts, emotions, motives, and will. The term “might” is normally the adverb “very,” but as a noun means force or energy. To love God is to keep His command­ments (Deut. 5:10; 7:9).

Love starts in the heart and mind but leads to action; it makes us like Josiah, eager and busy serving God (2 Kings 23:25).

Wilhelmus à Brakel writes,

Love is the sweet motion of the heart toward God – infused into the hearts of believers by the Holy Spirit – whereby they, by virtue of union with Him and in view of His perfections, delight themselves in God, and in a joyous embrace of His will, fully surrender themselves to His service.

The key word of the commandment is “all.” God requires nothing less than the complete devotion to Him of every motion of your body and soul. It is not enough to put God on your list, or even to make Him the top priority on your list. God must own the list and be written on every line.

Augustine wrote,

He loves Thee too little, who loves anything together with Thee, which he loves not for Thy sake.

How humbling is this law! Calvin said, “The perfection which is here required shows with sufficient clearness how far we are from the thorough obedience to the law.” We love ourselves, but the best of Christians loves God imperfectly, and the wicked hate Him.

So how can we love God with all our hearts?

First, grasp hold of the gospel of “the LORD thy God” (Deut. 6:5). Do not try to love an absolute God, consid­ered merely as a Creator and Lawgiver. Love Him as the God of the covenant, the God of salvation. His love shines supremely in the death of Christ for our sins (Rom. 5:8), and our love is but a Spirit-worked response to His glorious grace (1 John 4:9-10, 13, 19). The law commands love, but only the gospel of Jesus Christ produces love. Brakel says, “Believers on earth love Him, their hearts go out after Him, and He is the focal point of the passions of their love ... All their asking, crying, and weeping is for Jesus.”

Second, meditate much on Scripture so that “these words” will be “in thine heart” (Deut. 6:6). Each day repeat to yourself truth you read in the Bible or heard from the preacher of the Word – and preach it to yourself until it stirs your heart to love. Treasure up God’s words in your heart as the divine medicine to the lies and seduction of the gods of this world (Deut. 11:16-18).

Third, “teach” the Word to “your children” in family worship (Deut. 6:7). The term “teach” here has the root meaning of sharpen: we must not let the Word touch the surface of our family’s life but penetrate through pointed application. Read the Bible with your family each day, discuss its meaning and application, and then talk about it throughout the day.

The only way to love God with all your might is, by the Spirit’s grace, to bring the Word of Christ’s love into all your life.

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