If you were to ask someone if they loved God, they’d almost automatically reply, “Of course. I love the Lord with all my heart.” Every day in churches and all around the world, people say, “Lord, I love you. Oh, Jesus, I love you.” However, loving God is not just a religious quote you say to make people think you love God. In order to love God, you must first renew your mind where love is concerned. When many people think of love, they think of human, emotional love, which is basically selfish because it has conditions—it loves when the conditions are right, or when it feels like loving. This is the type of love many people try to love God with; however, God is not interested in you loving Him with your feelings. Contrary to what most people think, love is not a feeling. Your feelings, like your emotions, can be unstable. For example, as soon as somebody dies that you didn’t think should have died, your feelings toward God might change. This is why love is a choice—it’s a decision demonstrated by action. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). To love God means to choose to obey His Word, trust His power, and worship Him. It is impossible to say you love God if these things are not in place.
Your love for God is demonstrated by the decisions you make. When you choose what you want or desire over God’s Word, you demonstrate that you love yourself more than God. So one of the first things you must do to love God is get rid of self, or your own desires. Doing this will help you love God, and others, the way you have been commanded in Matthew 22:34—40. When you put self-first, everything you do will be to please yourself, because that’s what human, selfish love does—it seeks to satisfy self-first. However, according to Romans 5:5, the Holy Spirit has poured the love of God in our hearts; and that love gives us the ability to love with the God—kind of love, or agape love. Agape love is unconditional, unselfish love. Unlike selfish, human love, agape love puts the needs of others above its own needs. This is the love God wants us to demonstrate.
To love God means to lose self. Every day you have to make a decision to demonstrate the agape love of God by dying to the selfish desires that try to rule your life. Second Corinthians 4:11 in The Amplified Bible says, “For we who live are constantly [experiencing] being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake, that the [resurrection] life of Jesus also may be evidenced through our flesh which is liable to death.” That means in order for the love of God to be evident in your life, you have to make a quality decision to allow your thoughts, desires, emotions, and feelings to die daily. It’s impossible to love God, or others, when you have plans, purposes, and desires that are contrary to the Word of God.
When self is the most important thing to you, you will choose self over God’s Word. God’s Word is His will; get to the point where you choose the will of God above everything. You must desire His will, even above your own happiness. That’s what it means to love God—to obey His will, not your own.