A top Christian question is, “How can I love God more?”
How can I:
- Manage my affections?
- Feel more thankful?
- Be more consistent in my love?
What makes for a good Christian attitude? Let’s look at four steps to loving God more.
1. Start with the facts about God.
Our feelings come from somewhere. They come from our ideas — from the facts we observe and the judgments we make about them. To grow in our affections toward God (in our feeling of love), we need to start with facts about what God has done.
Why did Moses sing to the Lord? “For he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea” (Exodus 15:1b). God had become his salvation; that’s why Moses exalted him (v. 2).
Stick to the facts. God has made himself known. He has given us a reason to worship him. Gideon’s story shows the same point: God causes worship by revealing himself. Gideon worshiped because of what God was doing. He founded his faith on God’s promise and action.
2. Base your feelings on the facts.
My eBook When I Don’t Love God as I Should shows how love in the Bible is a response to value — emotion is a response to thought. That’s why people throughout the Bible experienced such rapture.
“My soul doth magnify the Lord,” said Mary, “And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name” (Luke 1:46–49).
When are hearts hot? When does the fire of emotion burn? When we muse, says Psalm 39:3 — when we think.
3. Be ready for shifts in feelings.
Though feelings come from our thoughts, the process is not immediate, and we don’t always have control over it. If feelings come from thoughts, we should not judge our feelings too harshly. Feelings are a reaction, but thoughts are the cause. When we fail to feel “as we should,” the culprit is our thoughts.
Even Jesus experienced troubled feelings. For example, he said, “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour” (John 12:27). His emotional turmoil was the kind that comes when we are forced to chose one value over another. Notice where the conflict is: not between his thoughts and his feelings. Rather, the conflict is between two thoughts which vie to be the highest value: Jesus thinks of how good it would be if he were saved from that hour. But he also thinks about his chosen goal and the joy set before him (Hebrews 12:2). Both of these thoughts result in emotions. Here Jesus chooses the greater long-range value, as against the immediate one.
Scripture does not place emotions against the mind and reason, as if they were a separate consideration or agent. Emotions are our way of experiencing the values grasped by the mind. For this reason, we should not condemn an emotion itself, or judge it. Emotions simply are. The emphasis of Scripture is on our choice of what to do with these emotions.
For example, Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” There is a place for strong emotions, and there is a way to experience them without sinning.
4. Return your mind (and heart) to the facts.
Set your mind and heart on the good things God is doing. As we see in Matthew 11:3, even John the Baptist may have doubted Jesus at one time. In response, Jesus pointed to the facts:
“Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them” (v. 4–5).
Christian, when you wonder how to love God more, remember the reason he is worth loving. Remember the reward.
“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
Originally published at www.codylibolt.com on July 10, 2015.
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