How We Show Our Love for God
CULTIVATING love for God is not an academic exercise. As God’s servants around the world can testify, true love for God grows as one becomes acquainted with his personality, and it becomes even stronger as one gets familiar with what he loves, what he hates, and what his preferences and his requirements are.
Lovingly, Jehovah has given us his Word, the Bible, in which he reveals himself. From it, we learn how Jehovah dealt with different situations. Just as a letter from a loved one gives us much pleasure, so the Bible brings us delight as we see new aspects of Jehovah’s personality revealed.
However, as we at times notice in our public ministry, learning about God does not always cause a person to love him. Jesus said to certain unappreciative Jews of his day: “You are searching the Scriptures, because you think that by means of them you will have everlasting life; . . . but I well know that you do not have the love of God in you.” (John 5:39, 42) Some spend years learning about Jehovah’s loving deeds and yet have little love for him. Why? They fail to contemplate the implications of what they learn. In contrast, millions of sincere people with whom we study the Bible experience that their love for God continues to grow. Why? Because, as we ourselves did, they follow Asaph’s example. In what way?
Asaph resolved to cultivate love for Jehovah in his heart. He wrote: “With my heart I will show concern . . . I shall remember the practices of Jah; for I will remember your marvelous doing of long ago. And I shall certainly meditate on all your activity, and with your dealings I will concern myself.” (Psalm 77:6, 11, 12) Love for God will grow in the heart of one who ponders Jehovah’s ways as the psalmist did.
In addition, recalling experiences that we have enjoyed while serving Jehovah strengthens our relationship with him. The apostle Paul said that we are God’s “fellow workers,” and the friendship that may grow between fellow workers is very special. (1 Corinthians 3:9) When we express our love for Jehovah, he appreciates it, and it makes his heart glad. (Proverbs 27:11) Then, when we ask for Jehovah’s help and he guides us through some difficulty, we know that he is with us, and our love for him deepens.
Friendship between two people develops as they express their feelings to each other. Similarly, when we tell Jehovah why we are devoted to him, we are strengthened in our love for him. We will find ourselves reflecting on Jesus’ words: “You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength.” (Mark 12:30) What can we do to make sure that we will continue to love Jehovah with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind, and our whole strength?
Loving Jehovah With Our Whole Heart
The Scriptures refer to the figurative heart, which is the inner person—our desires, attitudes, and feelings. So loving Jehovah with our whole heart means that more than anything else, we desire to please God. (Psalm 86:11) We show that we have such love by making our personality acceptable to him. We strive to imitate God by ‘abhorring what is wicked and clinging to what is good.’—Romans 12:9.
Our love for God affects our feelings about everything. For example, we may find our employment to be challenging or absorbing, but is this where our heart is? No. Since we love Jehovah with our whole heart, we are first of all ministers of God. Likewise, we want to please our parents, our marriage mate, and our boss, but we prove our wholehearted love for Jehovah by seeking above all to please him. After all, he deserves first place in our heart.—Matthew 6:24; 10:37.
Loving Jehovah With Our Whole Soul
In the Scriptures the word “soul” basically refers to our entire person as well as to the life we possess. So loving Jehovah with our whole soul means that we use our life to praise him and to prove our love for him.
Of course, we may have other interests in life, such as learning a job, running a business, or raising a family. But at the same time, we prove our whole-souled love for Jehovah by doing things his way and by keeping other things in their proper place in our life, thus “seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33) Whole-souled worship also means being zealous. We show Jehovah that we love him by zealously preaching the Kingdom message, giving upbuilding comments at the meetings, or helping our Christian brothers and sisters. In everything, we keep “doing the will of God whole-souled.”—Ephesians 6:6.
Jesus demonstrated whole-souled love for God by disowning himself. He put God’s will first and his personal needs second. Jesus invited us to follow his example. He said: “If anyone wants to come after me, let him disown himself and pick up his torture stake and continually follow me.” (Matthew 16:24, 25) Disowning ourselves means making a dedication. It means that we love God so much that we hand ownership of ourselves over to him, as when an Israelite in Bible times loved his master so much that he obligated himself to him permanently as a slave. (Deuteronomy 15:16, 17) Dedicating our life to Jehovah provides convincing evidence that we love him.
Loving Jehovah With Our Whole Mind
Loving Jehovah with our whole mind means that we make every effort necessary to understand Jehovah’s personality, purposes, and requirements. (John 17:3; Acts 17:11) We express our love to Jehovah by using all our mental resources in helping others come to love Jehovah too and by improving our art of teaching. “Brace up your minds for activity,” urged the apostle Peter. (1 Peter 1:13) Also, we put effort into showing an interest in others, especially fellow servants of God. We are aware of their circumstances and observe when commendation is appropriate or when consolation is needed.
We show Jehovah that we love him with our whole mind by submitting to him mentally. We try to see things his way, take notice of him when we make decisions, and trust that his way is best. (Proverbs 3:5, 6; Isaiah 55:9; Philippians 2:3-7) But as we continue to show our love for God, how can we use our strength?
Loving Jehovah With Our Whole Strength
Many youths in the Christian congregation use their strength in praising Jehovah. (Proverbs 20:29; Ecclesiastes 12:1) One way in which numerous young Christians show that they love Jehovah with their whole strength is by sharing in the pioneer service, the full-time ministry. Many mothers share in this ministry while their children are at school. Faithful elders who make shepherding calls in addition to caring for the welfare of their own families show that they love Jehovah with all their strength. (2 Corinthians 12:15) Jehovah gives power to those who hope in him, so that they can demonstrate their love by praising him, using whatever strength they have.—Isaiah 40:29; Hebrews 6:11, 12.
Love will grow if cultivated properly. Therefore, we continue to take time to meditate. We remember what Jehovah has done for us and why he merits our devotion. As imperfect descendants of Adam, we can never be worthy of “the things that God has prepared for those who love him,” but we can show that we love Jehovah with every fiber of our being. Let us continue to do so!—1 Corinthians 2:9.
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We express love for God through actions