If you ask the average person if he loves God, his answer will probably be, “Yes.”
However, many people who sincerely believe they love the Lord are mistaken. Sadly, they may not even know Him. Words alone are no proof of love. Even sincere believers can miss out on this awesome experience because of several misconceptions such as:
Mistaking the fear of the Lord for love of Him. We can revere God by recognizing He is holy and just, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we have fully given our hearts, souls, and minds to Him.
Confusing our need with love. Most of us are quick to bring our cares and concerns to the Lord in prayer because we need His help, but that may merely be evidence of our need for Him, not our love for Him.
Equating serving God with loving Him. Instead of being motivated by devotion to Christ, some people simply enjoy the satisfaction that comes with serving.
Assuming that our giving is always a sign of love. If we simply put money into the offering plate because we’ve been taught it’s the right thing to do or from a sense of duty, that’s not showing true love for who God is to us personally.
Thinking that religious acts equal love for God. Singing, teaching, preaching, and sharing the gospel may not be expressions of love if they are done only out of obligation.
Loving God means He has a prominent place in our hearts and our love for Him permeates every area of our lives. As Jesus told the Pharisees, the greatest thing we ought to do is to love God with all our hearts, souls, and minds (Matt. 22:37).
This simply means we express our love for Him continually in our innermost being—both emotionally and mentally. It’s an act of giving ourselves totally to Him for His purposes and joy. As He pours out His love to us, our eyes are opened to see His good purposes, and we desire to honor Him with obedience.
And that’s something we’ll never want to miss out on.
This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message, “Loving God,” which aired this weekend on TV.