Have you ever thought about this question: How do you love God?
What really is love for God?
We know thatGod loved us by giving. (John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that anyone who believes in him will not perish but will have eternal life.) Not only did He give his Son, He gave his life, He sent His Holy Spirit, He gives grace, and everything we need for godliness. See the PRISM Topic: What Does God Give?
So how do we love God? The answer is quite simple: we love God by obeying. That’s really it. In fact, can you think of one way you could “love” God, that is not - obeying? Think for a minute:
You could praise Him, worship Him, bring a tithe or an offering, feed the poor, serve others, give a cup of cold water in His name, tell others about Jesus, give a testimony of what He has done for you; but all of these things you could do to love God - are simply doing what He has already told us to do. Love for God really is - to Obey.
The Word ‘love’ in the Old Testament – is ahab’ (aw-hab) which means ‘to have affection for.’ love, like, friend. The Word ‘love’ for God in the New Testament – is agapeo which means ‘to love in a social or moral sense.’ If Strong’s Concordance English Definitions of love do not include the word obey, how do we know it is an essential part of love for God? Because He clearly tells us in his Word.
Here’s where the Bible says "Love is Obey." 2 John 1:6 - And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
I John 5:3 - This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.
John 14:15 - If you love me, you will obey what I command.
John 14:21 - Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."
John 14:23-24 - Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him.
John 15:14 - You are my friends if you do what I command.
John 15:10 - If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.
I John 2:5 - But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
So God himself makes it clear – Love for God means obeying him.
If you think about it, why wouldn’t you obey? I John 5:3 - This is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,
Matthew 11:30 - For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Deuteronomy 12:28 - Be careful to obey all my commands, so that all will go well with you and your children after you, because you will be doing what is good and pleasing to the LORD your God.
Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Can you “not obey him” and still love Him? John 14:24 - He who does not love mewill not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me."
I John 2:3-5 - We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him:
To live like Jesus: Jesus Obeyed– that’s all he did. John 6:38 - "For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me."
John 19:5 - Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can only do what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does, the Son also does.
John 8:28-29 - So Jesus said "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what my Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him."
Hebrews 10:7 - Then I said, 'Here am I - it is written about me in the scroll, I have come to do your will, O God.'
John 14:31 - but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. "Come now; let us leave."
Luke 22:42 - "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."
Philippians 2:8 - And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!
Hebrews 5:8-9 - Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.
Jesus made it clear – Just as He obeyed his Heavenly Father – so we too should obey. This is how we love God.
John 15:4 - Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot produce fruit unless you remain in me. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (So what does remain mean?)
John 15:9-10 - "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commands and remain in his love. (Clearly remaining is obeying.)
There is a secret about obeying: Obedience is a path not a list.
It’s not about do’s and don’ts – obedience is not a list to check off, it is a path to travel on – like a treasure map! Obedience is a way to live. God wants you to walk in the wonderful plans He has for your life and the good things He has for you! (see Relationship Topic – God’s Way or man’s way)
You obey because you love God, not to earn his love for you. He loved you already. Only Jesus could save you from the penalty of your sins; your obedience can’t. He died for you when you were still a sinner. You don’t obey to earn your salvation, you obey because you love Him – your debt has already been paid. Salvation is through Jesus’ death alone not anything you could ever do. In fact, He knows that you can’t obey on your own, so He sent His Holy Spirit to help you!
So how do you start obeying God? 1) Believe in His Son, 2) Love one another and 3) Walk in the Spirit.
I John 5:3 - And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
Galatians 5:16 - I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
If that’s how to start, how do you keep going? What does “love is obey” look like in everyday life?
Loving God by obeying is simple and practical. Your life consists of three areas: Time, Thoughts, and Money.
If you obey with Time – God directs your life completely. If you obey with Thoughts – God’s Word changes how you think and you begin to think like He does. If you obey with Money – God says you can be entrusted with greater things – true riches.
For tools that will help you obey with time, thoughts, and money – see hearwelldone.org PiVAT for Time Decisions, PRISM for God’s Word to change the way you think, 4C’s for money decisions, a Daily PiVAT Call for encouragement, a PiVAT Small Group for growth with others, and a many more practical tools to help you fully love God by obeying! See PRISM Topic: Love is Obey Verses, and PRISM Topic: Love for Others
So did anyone else love God by obeying him? Abraham loved God by obeying. Genesis 15:6 - And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. (But that’s not obeying, someone might say, that’s believing. And how did he believe? James makes it clear)
James 2:21-22 – “Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith worked together with what he did, and by his actions his faith was made complete. (James said it was Abraham’s obedience that proved his faith.)
Moses loved God by obeying. Genesis 18:19 - For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
David loved God by obeying. Acts 13:22 - I have found David, son of Jesse a man after my own heart, he will do everything I want him to do.
God told Samuel that love is obedience. I Samuel 15:22 - But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as inobeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
Jesus instructed Peter that love is obedience. John 21:17 - The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.”
The Great Commission is teaching people to obey. (It’s what Jesus did.) Matt 28:19-20 -Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Paul’s calling was to teach people to obey. Romans 1:5 - Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obediencethat comes from faith for his name's sake.
Jesus Measured his success on earth by those who loved God by obeying. John 17:6 - "I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.
God’s Word is clear. To love God is to obey him. The best news is obeying Him brings great joy and huge blessing! Just a final thought: What if we looked at the Bible verses about love – through the lens of this truth? See the Relationship Topic – Love is Obey Verses – for a unique perspective that will help you grow in your love for God!
A PRISM Topic: is God’s Word on a single subject. A Relationship Topic is a perspective from God's Word on relationships. A PRISM Topic Packet is a grouping of PRISM or Relationship Topics of similar subjects... part of the M: Meditate on theWord of PRISM – (5 Things You Can Do Daily in God’s Word) to transform the way you think. Ask God what PRISM Topic or Relationship Topic He wants you to meditate on today.Take your PRISM Topic, Relationship Topic or Packet with you! Come back to them multiple times a day! “It is to be with him, and he is to meditate on it day and night, so that he may learn to fear the LORD…” - Deuteronomy 17:19