Jesus calls us to love God. From our own side and by our own strength, this is impossible. That is why we need grace. In God's grace and by the power of grace in Christ, we can come to love God as Jesus calls us to. This is part of our walk of faith and journey of growth in Christ. But how does this happen?
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
Let's take a few steps back and ask ourselves: when we love someone, what do we do to get to know that person more and more? And when we know that person better, how does that help us to love them more? Loving and knowing someone is inextricably intertwined. When we like a person, we naturally want to know them more—their likes and dislikes; their passions and interests; their values and perspectives; their hopes and fears; their histories and aspirations; their character and convictions; their contexts and environments; and more.
And as we know them better, we can love them in ways richer, more nuanced, and more profound than ever before. And in this journey into love, we taste sweeter joys. But all this takes time and commitment, sustained over a long period of getting to know each other. It is not an instant meal served from the microwave oven. It is more like a gourmet dish requiring many hours of preparation and much loving attentive energy.
The same goes for our relationship with God. If we desire to love God more, we would do well to know Him better. Knowing God better is not an instant meal; it is more a gourmet dish. It takes time, commitment, sustained attentiveness and energy, and patience. Why do we assume that knowing God is a quickie affair needing no investment of our whole being? Are we so habituated to quick fixes and instant gratification in our topsy-turvy hyper-distracted world that slowing down to enjoy and savour God's presence has become a thing of the past? Is it because pseudo-grace and prosperity teachings have dulled our senses, scrambled our brains, frozen our hearts, and stroked our egos to such an extent that spending good chunks of time with God in quiet intimacy is seen as worthless and wasteful?
Spending sustained time with the Lord can involve reading and meditating on the Word—the Bible, that is God's love letter to us—so we can glean His heart and share His dream. It can involve silent contemplation in His presence, attuning inwardly to His sweet majestic numinous Being in whom we live, move, and have our being. There are depths and dimensions of communion with God in the absolute interiority of the triune Life that are simply unspeakable. It can involve conversing with Him in quiet tones, or with groaning intensity, or in brokenness and lament, or in exultant joy and praise—in a whole variety of moods and feelings open to us as human souls.
It can involve studying God's Word carefully with the support of biblical commentaries, historic creeds and confessions of our faith, theological tomes, quality writings by credible respected Bible teachers, and living mentors and brethren in the faith. It can involve prayers of every kind and loving acts of every size, harnessing both our clear vision of God and affections of our hearts for God. It can involve praise and worship of God, in songs and in tongues that express our soul's exultation in Christ. It can involve spiritual companioning with a friend embraced in the gracious ocean of the Holy Spirit.
I am sure there is more, but for now my message is this: get to know God by spending time with God, so that we can love God better. And as we love God better, we come to know God better as well. This virtuous cycle of knowing and loving God has no end. And this time we spend with God will be the most precious, valuable, treasured, satisfying and blissful moments, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, and decades we can ever have on this side of creation. Why miss it? Why postpone heaven?
This unending journey of loving and knowing God is one that we as believers have been blessed and privileged to experience, by God's amazing grace in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Let us not be slothful and desensitized to God by the choking weeds of our carnal desires and worldly obsessions. Let us not be fooled by false teachings that seek to use God as an instrument for satisfying our materialistic cravings. Let us forsake the genie of pseudo-grace for the real Jesus of the Bible. We need to wake up before it is too late.