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What Does It Mean To Love God?

The greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. But what does loving God really mean in practical terms? This article unpacks the meaning behind loving God by examining key scriptures, the components of loving God, and what it looks like to have an authentic love relationship with your Creator.

In short, loving God means pursuing an intimate relationship with Him marked by worship, trust, affection, gratitude, obedience and delight in who He is.

Understanding the Greatest Commandment to Love God

The Context of the Greatest Commandment in Scripture

The Greatest Commandment originates from a conversation Jesus had with a religious scholar in the Gospel of Matthew. When asked which commandment was the greatest, Jesus replied that the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).

This commandment comes from Deuteronomy 6:5 in the Old Testament, which calls the people of Israel to devote themselves fully to God.

By affirming the Greatest Commandment, Jesus was emphasizing the importance of loving and worshiping God above all else. This commandment calls people to direct their entire being – heart, soul, mind, and strength – toward loving God.

It is considered the greatest because all other commandments flow from the fundamental commitment to love and obey God wholeheartedly.

Defining What It Means to Love God

To love God with our whole being involves both emotions and actions. At an emotional level, it means desiring God’s presence and enjoying deep intimacy with Him. It includes awe, adoration, and genuine affection for who God is.

At a volitional level, loving God requires obeying His commands (John 14:15), serving others, denying self, and representing God accurately to the world.

Practically, loving God looks like pursuing Him through spiritual disciplines like prayer, Scripture reading, fasting, and worship. It also entails trusting God completely in all circumstances and being willing to sacrifice anything for Him.

Additionally, loving God means loving what He loves, so it compels people to love others, care for the marginalized, and share the gospel.

Most importantly, the ability to love God comes only through the work of the Holy Spirit. As 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.” God’s love always precedes and empowers humans’ love for Him.

The more people receive God’s love, the more their hearts overflow with love for Him in return.

Key Components of Loving God

Worshipping God

Worshipping God encompasses praising Him, praying to Him, singing hymns of adoration, and gathering together with fellow believers. As an act of love and reverence, worship is about focusing less on oneself and more on the goodness, power, and glory of God.

Through heartfelt worship, one expresses gratitude, awe, devotion, and affection for the Almighty (Psalm 95:1-7).

Trusting in God’s Goodness and Sovereignty

Loving God involves trusting in His flawless character and omnipotent rule. Although suffering and injustice exist, God works all things for good for those who follow Him (Romans 8:28). With childlike faith, one can find comfort and strength in God’s wise plans and timing, even when circumstances seem bleak (GotQuestions.org).

Cultivating Affection for God

The more time spent with God in prayer, Scripture, and fellowship, the more one’s affection and passion for Him grows. According to pastor John Piper, delighting in and cherishing God should permeate everyday thoughts and activities.

Contemplating His glory and goodness kindles greater awe, fascination, zeal, and warmth of heart for the Almighty.

Obeying God Out of Love and Respect

Genuine love for God manifests itself through heartfelt obedience to His commands (Exodus 20:6). This obedience is not burdensome but rather flows from reverence, not legalism (1 John 5:3). One also imitates Christ’s perfect example of submitting to the Father out of love.

As devotion deepens, one becomes more sensitive to sins that grieve God and more desirous to please Him in all things.

Expressing Gratitude to God

Love and thankfulness for God go hand-in-hand. With gratitude, one acknowledges God as the ultimate giver of all good gifts (James 1:17). Thanking Him for blessings, as well as trials which strengthen faith, is essential.

The more one recognizes how deeply dependent they are on God’s grace and provision, the more their heart overflows with praise and appreciation.

Pursuing Intimate Friendship with God

The Christian journey is about pursuing an ever-deepening love relationship with God. Through regular prayer, Scripture reading, and listening for His voice, God draws near to His children and reveals Himself to those who earnestly seek Him (Jeremiah 29:13).

This growing intimacy with the Creator of the universe is the ultimate joy, privilege, and wonder.

What Does Love for God Look Like in Everyday Life?

Seeking God First

Loving God means prioritizing our relationship with Him above all else. We demonstrate our love for God by seeking Him first thing in the morning through Bible reading and prayer (Psalm 5:3). Throughout the day, we continue to seek His will in all our decisions, instead of relying on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).

When we put God first, amazing things can happen in our lives!

Talking and Listening to God Through Prayer

A key way we express love for God is through regular conversation with Him. Prayer allows us to pour out our hearts to God and listen for His still, small voice in return (1 Kings 19:12). We can praise and thank Him for His blessings, confess our sins and ask for forgiveness, intercede for others’ needs, and make requests according to His will.

Consistent prayer demonstrates our dependence on and intimacy with God.

Studying and Obeying God’s Word

Reading the Bible enables us to know God more deeply. As we study His Word, we better understand His character, promises, and commandments. But loving God requires more than just acquiring knowledge. We must also act on what we learn by obeying God’s commands (John 14:15).

According to a 2019 survey, 9% of American adults read the Bible daily. Imagine how our society could be transformed if more Christians studied the Word diligently and lived it out!

Participating in Spiritual Community

God designed believers to connect with each other for mutual encouragement and accountability (Hebrews 10:24-25). Expressing our love for God together with other Christians strengthens our faith. We can worship God alongside other believers at church services and small groups.

Serving our church family also demonstrates Christ’s love (Galatians 5:13). Unity among diverse believers displays God’s transformative power to the watching world.

Using Gifts and Talents to Serve God

God has gifted each of His followers with special abilities to benefit others (Romans 12:6-8). Using our talents in service to God and other people is an act of love and worship. For example, an artist could honor God by painting encouraging Christian murals in hospitals.

A teacher may decide to volunteer tutoring underprivileged children after school. When we steward our gifts well, we bring glory to God and joyfully reflect Him to the world.

Sharing the Gospel

As Christ’s witnesses, we are called to share the good news of salvation with others (Matthew 28:19-20). There is no greater act of love than introducing people to Jesus, who can forgive their sins and transform their lives forever.

We must boldly and lovingly proclaim the Gospel through our words and actions. Our heart motivation should be that all would come to know the amazing grace and truth found only in Christ.


Loving God encompasses our entire being – our heart, soul, mind and strength. It’s demonstrated through worship, trust, affection, gratitude, obedience and friendship with Him. Loving God looks like making Him first priority in all areas of life, communing with Him daily through prayer and Scripture, actively serving in spiritual community, generously sharing our gifts, and spreading the Good News about His love and salvation.

Cultivating authentic love for God brings great joy and meaning to life. He is most worthy of all our love and pursuit.

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