You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
Remarkable isn’t it? The main thing God wants from us is our love. He’s the God of the universe and he longs for us to love him back.
What does this tell us about God? At heart, he is a lover. He is the God who loves. In fact, 1 John 4:8 declares: “God is love.”
What does this verse tell us about the Christian life? It’s a love affair. If you thought the Christian life was about religious rules or church rituals or being good enough, you’ve had God all wrong. It’s all about love. Receiving God’s love for you and then loving him back. As Brennan Manning notes in his book The Ragamuffin Gospel:
Over a hundred years ago in the Deep South, a phrase so common in our Christian culture today, “born again,” was seldom or never used. Rather, the phrase used to describe the breakthrough into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ was, “I was seized by the power of a great affection.”
These words describe both the initiative of God and the explosion within the heart when Jesus, instead of being a face on a holy card with long hair and a robe with many folds, becomes real, alive, and Lord of one’s personal and professional life. Seized by the power of a great affection was a visceral description of the phenomenon of Pentecost, authentic conversion, and the release of the Holy Spirit. The phrase lent new meaning to the old Russian proverb, “Those who have the disease called Jesus will never be cured.”
What does it mean to love God? It includes affection, devotion, tenderness, gratitude. It includes loyalty, obedience, surrender. You want to know him, be close to him, please him.
Furthermore, this love relationship is not tepid and lukewarm, but passionate and wholehearted. Love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, all your might. Go all out! Give yourself in love and obedience to the God who made you.
Jesus was once asked, “What is the greatest commandment in the Law?” He didn’t hesitate. He went right to Deuteronomy 6 and quoted this verse. The greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might. (See Matthew 22:34-40.)
Dear friend, this is your purpose in life. This is your top priority. This is your mission. Love him! Love him with all you’ve got. Love him with all you are.