Love the Lord Your God

By Melissa McLaughlin

Memories of Love

My eyes welled up and a lump caught in my throat. While cleaning some piles of dusty books in the basement, my husband unearthed a few old photos of our children when they were young. I gazed at their tender faces, and recalled hearts of gold and smiles as sweet as honey.

It seems like only yesterday they were flitting around the house with beloved stuffed animals in hand. My heart flooded with memories of small fingers crafting artwork and long days of backyard playtime.

Love Comes From God

As I paused to reminisce about the love of our children, thoughts of God’s love intertwined. For God is the source of love. I was overcome at that these precious bonds of family love, and I was reminded that it all came from His heart. What a good, good Father.

Loving the Lord

When I step away for an interlude of remembrance and gratitude, my faith is renewed and my heart is refreshed to love God more. From there, the overflow of love extends to others. I find that meditating on God’s mercy, grace, and love in my life highlights the countless layers of God’s goodness enveloping our days.

Remember God’s Love

During my Bible reading later that week, I noticed how God invited His people to remember His love in the book of Deuteronomy. This time of reflection immediately preceded the famous Scripture about loving the LORD our God.

Love the Lord Your God

In the opening chapters of Deuteronomy, Moses reminded the Israelites who God is and what He has done. God delivered His people from slavery in Egypt, and protected and sustained them through forty years in the wilderness. They stood on the cusp of a new chapter in life, ready to enter the land God promised their forefathers in ages past.

As they prepared to enter the promised land, Moses proclaimed the command to love God, recorded in Deuteronomy chapter six. This same passage is later echoed by Jesus in Matthew 22:36-40.

  • Deuteronomy 6:4-9 – “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

God commanded the Israelites to obey His laws. But God goes deeper than outward obedience. God looks upon the heart. He asks His followers to love Him from the heart with inward truth and devotion.

We should certainly study the Bible, pray, attend church, share the gospel message, help others, and more. But if we don’t love God from the heart, our actions can be superficial. God sees. God knows.

So How Do We Love God?

There are several ways to love God, as revealed through Scripture.

Obedience is Love in Action

One way to love the Lord is through obedience. This is loving God through our actions. Jesus taught, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). This same lesson is taught in 1 John 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.”

When children follow their parents’ good and wise directions, it demonstrates their love and respect for parents. Similarly, when we follow God’s laws, we demonstrate our love and respect for Him.

Love in Words

Another way to love God is through our words. When we offer to God our gratitude and praise for who He is and what He has done, we are loving the Lord. Our love for God then flows through our words.

The Psalmist exclaims, “I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:1-2).

Our actions and words toward others reflect Christ’s heart in us, as well.

Remembering – Love From the Heart

In addition to loving through actions and words, God also instructs us to love Him with our hearts. When we look back over our lives, starting from the very earliest days, we reawaken memories of God’s protection, mercy, and love. This rekindles our love for Him.

Remembering God’s love for us in the past helps us love Him today. As we bring to mind His goodness in years gone by, our hearts are warmed afresh with love for God in the present. And this strengthens our faith in God for the future.

God taught this principle to His people later in Deuteronomy chapter six.

  • Deuteronomy 6:20-25 – “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you?’ then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. And the Lord showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers. And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us.’

I invite you to pause right now. Think back over your life. Do you have a special memory of God’s love that stirs your heart and revives your love for Him? Let that soak in.

Holy Spirit, help us remember God’s love for us in the past, so we can love the LORD our God with all our hearts today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Other posts you may enjoy:

How Does God Define Love? by Melissa McLaughlin

A God Who is Both: Loving and Holy, Savior and Judge by Melissa McLaughlin

A Love Like No Other by Melissa McLaughlin

Let Jesus Love You by Melissa McLaughlin

12 thoughts on “Love the Lord Your God”

    • Like you, Tom, I can see many instances where God literally saved my life. And of course, through Jesus, He saved my soul from destruction. Add to that daily common graces and love of family. God is so good!

  1. Wonderful reminder that we can love because of God’s love for us.
    I have a special memory of a time that God healed my body when medicine could not. I would not have lived to see any of my grandchildren if God had not healed me.
    Oh how I thank God for His amazing love and grace to me!

    • Very true, Mary Anne. We love God because He first loved us.
      Thank you for sharing your story of God miraculously healing your body. That is a huge blessing that touched your life and everyone around you. Amazing God! Amazing love!

  2. Have you ever prayed for something that you didn’t really expect God to answer? I’ve had that experience more than once. Recently, I prayed about a conflict that I did not expect to be resolved any time soon, let alone that very day. God is so amazing. Thanks, Melissa, and God bless!

    • I love that example of God’s power and love intervening in your life unexpectedly. Great example, Nancy! I remember one time I was making a long drive and found myself stuck in traffic. Out of nowhere an excruciating headache developed at the back of my head. I put my hand on that area and asked God to please heal the headache, because I had no way of taking medicine. The headache immediately went away after I spoke that little prayer. I didn’t honestly expect that to happen, but God did answer that prayer.
      Precious Lord, help us remember all these big and little touches of your love in our lives!
      God bless you, Nancy!

  3. So beautiful. I love your point about how obedience is love in action. God’s rules are meant to help us fulfill God’s good and loving plan for the world… they’re good for US and good for others. When we are obedient, we are living in line with his plan and helping that love multiply!

    • Awesome point, Jessica!
      I love this line: “God’s rules are meant to help us fulfill God’s good and loving plan for the world… they’re good for US and good for others.”
      As we walk in obedience, may we look to the Lord with love in our hearts. God bless you!

  4. This is beautiful, Melissa. The love of God for us, should absolutely spill over into our hearts and lives to Him with ALL-for He first loved us. I like how you note obedience is more than outward actions but from the heart. Obedience is love in action. “He asks His followers to love Him from the heart with inward truth and devotion.” That’s so good! Thank you!

    • Thank you, Karen. You understood and got right to the heart of the matter!
      I find it interesting that in Scripture God instructs us to “Love Him with all our hearts” and “Trust Him with all our hearts.”
      Yes, this includes obedience but God wants more than just the external. He wants our hearts! With inward truth and devotion, bubbling up and spilling over, as you said.
      Lord Jesus, as you loved us, help us love you fully and completely!

    • That is the truth, Yvonne. When we pause and remember all the times God spared us from harm, we can only imagine the times He spared us and we didn’t even notice. Help us remember your great kindness to us, Lord! Bless you, Yvonne.


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