A Fervent Follower... Loves God
Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mk.12:28-31). A fervent follower really loves God.Personal Profile: David - someone who really loved God
God described David as "a man after his own heart". God really loved David and David really loved God (1 Sam.13:14. Acts 13:22). Although, far from perfect, David was held up as the measuring rod for the hearts of all other kings who came after him, including his son Solomon (1 Kgs.11:3-5). What was David like and what did he do that demonstrated his love for God?
- David pursued God
David believed that God could be found and known personally. This belief led him to pursue God so that he could know him and understand him. Even when God seemed far away, he ran towards him in passionate pursuit (Ps.27:8; 42:1-2; 63:1).
David valued his relationship with God. He was a "God-chaser". He lived a lifestyle of praise and worship by making room for God in his life. He didn't get so busy or caught up with the activities of life that he had no time for God (Ps.34:1; 119:164; 145:2).
- David talked to God
David believed that God was real and that he had an ear to listen to his every prayer. He spent time pouring out his heart to God, honestly expressing his feelings, from the heights of exuberant joy to the depths heart-wrenching grief (Ps.118:21; 5:1-3; 142:1-2; 62:8).
- David expressed his love to God
David let God know what he thought about him. He did this through praise, singing and whole-hearted worship that included physical expressions or demonstrations (See 2 Sam.6:14-16, 21-23. Ps.57:7-10; 149:1-5).
- David enjoyed being with God.
David loved being with God and sensing his nearness. God's house was his delight and he invested as much time as possible just being in God's presence (Ps.26:8; 27:4; 84:10; 122:1).
- David desired to please God
When David sinned, he did not try to cover it up or make excuses. He admitted it and confessed his wrongdoing. More than that, his heart was broken because he knew he had hurt his God. His greatest desire was a restored relationship and a return to a life of intimacy with God (Ps.119:10-11; 51:4, 10-13; 119:97).
These are the evidences of loving anybody. You pursue them, talk to them, express your love to them, enjoy being with them and seek to please them. These are all demonstrations of genuine love.What Does God want from us?
Ultimately, God wants our hearts, not just our service or even our worship (Mt.15:7-9). He is a personal and a loving God who desires a close relationship with each one of us. He has given his all for us and he loves us completely. He desires us to love him in the same way ¨C with everything within us. He is a jealous God who desires whole-hearted and exclusive devotion (Ex.20:1-2, 5. Jas.4:4-5).
Is there any person or thing in your life that is stealing your heart and pulling your affections away from God? It may be a friendship, a hobby, a career or even a ministry. Be on guard that these things don't become "idols" that substitute for your relationship with God. Anything or anyone that comes between you and God is an "idol".
Deep inside, we all long for love, acceptance, meaning and significance. So often, we try to find these things in other relationships, in experiences, in status or material possessions. Only in a relationship with God can we find the answer to the deepest needs of our life. A relationship with him enables you to enjoy the other aspects of your life from a place of fullness rather than emptiness (Jer.2:13).Dynamic Daily Devotions
How do we love God practically on a daily basis? Love for God is something than should be in our hearts all through the day wherever we are and whatever we are doing, just like love for a spouse or friend. However, there are special times when you are "together" that are the vital connection points of the relationship. Spend time alone with God.
- When? There is really no right time. Find what's best for you. The important thing is that you do make a time so that other things don't squeeze out what is important.
- Where? Again, there is really no right place. Simply find a place that is as free from noise and distractions as possible.
- What? There are no particular things that you "have" to do. However, here are a few ideas. Talk to God - tell him how you feel and what you're thinking about. Listen for his voice. Make use of a diary, notebook or journal to record your thoughts and what God says to you. Read and meditate on his Word, the Bible. Be still and simply enjoy his presence. Pray using your spiritual language. It helps you pray according to God's will and build up spiritual strength.
A few extra tips:
- Watch out that "romance" doesn't turn to "routine". Keep a freshness and variety to your relationship with God.
- Learn the unique way(s) that you experience God the most then in invest time in those activities. Your "abiding style" might be contemplative, intellectual, serving, relational or charismatic.
- Walk by faith not by feelings. Build your life on truth. Ultimately, true deep and long lasting love is not a feeling but an act of the will. It's a choice.
When we abide daily in Christ, every other area of our life is positively affected. In contrast, when we don't abide daily in Christ, every other area of our life is negatively affected.Sample Discussion Questions
- Start with a discussion about what people think it means to really love God. This simply gets the topic going and sparks people's interest. There are no right or wrong answers here.
- Ask people to describe a time or experience when they felt really close to God. This helps people begin to open up and share their own journey.
- Ask people to share what kinds of things they do when they're spending time with God. Those who are more confident may share first and all may not share, but this question takes the discussion forward.
- Discuss reasons why we drift in our relationship with God. We all drift at times, so maybe you start first and establish a good degree of openness.
- Consider the consequences of neglecting your relationship with God in comparison to investing in developing it. This is where some real life change can begin to take place, as we consider how important and significant loving God really is.
- Discuss various ways we can keep our relationship with God fresh and alive. This is where people can commit to doing some different things and improving their relationship with God.