By Not Known
What God first seeks is a response of the heart. We are to love him (Deut 6:5). This is
love in our deepest parts with the strength and passion of an undivided love – for
he is One only (Deut 6:4).
But love means nothing unless it comes out of the heart onto our lips and
especially into our life. Consider someone who never says those wonderful words ‘I
love you’. Or consider again the person who declares their love with words alone.
Mere words are empty.
It’s like that with our love of God. The feeling means nothing unless it comes out.
We should express our love for God through words of admiration, praise and thanks
to him in our prayers and songs. But we should especially express it by doing what
he says, for this pleases him greatly. The love of heart and soul is to be
accompanied by the love of our strength (Deut 6:5). This is the love of our outward
The love of God that comes out will first be expressed in an underlying godliness of
character and behaviour. Paul speaks in 1 Thessalonians about being blameless and
holy (3:13). This means living lives worthy of the Lord (2: 12). It means being
sanctified in sexual morality, the way we behave at work and our general day-to
day example (4:3-12). We should ask which parts of our lives are most challenged
by his words here.
The Bible challenges us to a further ‘coming out’ of our love for God. This is the
social dimension. We are to love our neighbour and stranger in a way that reflects
God’s character. Listen to Zechariah : Administer true justice: show mercy and
compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien
and the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of one another (Zech 7:9-10).
Note the root point of Zechariah: we are to show mercy and compassion. That
means going beyond treating people as they deserve and showing a generous,
overflowing love that keeps no grim record of right and wrong. God will deal with
the rights and wrongs in people’s lives. Our part is to love truly and in truth (Eph
Zechariah’s words challenge us. We face intense pressure to privatise our faith,
vacate public life and express our faith only withim church buildings and church
activities. Let’s resist this pressure. God’s love in Jesus overflowed into the whole
of creation. Let’s do the same with our love for him.