Loving God

Learning to love God is simultaneously the easiest and hardest journey that we choose to embark on when we begin following with God.

 Loving God is easy, because he first loved us. We see his love marking humanity from the beginning of Genesis to right now. The entire Bible is God’s love story of how he is winning his people over. From the beginning, he set aside humans as the creature that would reflect his image, enabling us to form connection with him. In his conversations with Moses, God revealed his character, making himself different from any other god during that time. Then, he sent his only son to be able to restore his broken relationship with mankind. Then, he gave his holy spirit to inhabit his people, reminding them that he was always near. He has continued to move in response to his people, lavishing his love on us. His love for us has remained steadfast.

Loving God is hard, because it costs us something. Sometimes it costs us everything we thought we knew made us who we are. Every single day when we choose God, we are denying something else. God’s love language is obedience. That is one of the first things I ever heard Clay Kirkland, a former Wesley director, say. Ever since then, it has stuck with me. There are going to be areas in your life where it is harder for you to obey God, even when you know that it’s what’s best for you. Your obedience really matters in that place. God acknowledges your sacrifice there, and he honors it. Now, don’t get it mixed up. God’s love is not conditional; he will love you whether you obey him or not. He will stand by you no matter what, because he is that good.

It’s easy to say that when we’re in a good season. It’s not so easy to say that when it’s a hard
season… a refining season. Sometimes it's a season that feels like a fire where we would give anything for it to just not hurt as much. When it feels hard to follow God, we don’t want to. When it’s easy, when God says things we like, when we agree with everything he says, then we want to follow God.

If God agrees with everything you’re saying, you’re not worshipping God, you’re worshipping yourself.
 
If God never disagreed with you, you would never grow. It is in these moments when every part of you wants to say no that choosing to listen to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit pushes us closer to God.

“I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” - Ephesians 3:16-19

Every time I read this passage, I pray it touches me in a new way. I try to open my heart to receive the love God so generously poured out to us. God’s love doesn’t make sense to me. It doesn’t make sense that an infinitely good God could love someone like me. The more I learned about God, the less I understood how God’s love could be real. I used to think it was a bad thing that I cried during a worship song like "Reckless Love", even though I had heard it hundreds of times before. Now, I pray that I always take the time whether in worship, a quiet moment with God, with Scripture, etc. to let God’s extravagant love wash anew over me.

 In receiving the love of a good, pure Father, I am able to love as a daughter, fully known and fully accepted. This is my deepest prayer for any girl I disciple and anyone that I have influence over. I pray that God’s love will continue to renew our hearts, bodies, and souls. There are times when I look at the greatest commandment that Jesus gave to love the Lord, our God with all of our mind, heart, and spirit, and I’ll be honest, I get intimidated. Sometimes I don’t even know if I can love my closest people with all my mind, heart, and spirit. The greatest commandment feels heavy, until you realize that God’s mercy is bigger than our inabilities. God washes new mercy over us each and every day. God knew we would fall short of this commandment every day, yet he still chooses us. Loving God flows out of the love God has given to us first.

Author| Cristina Rosiles

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