If you’re like me, you want to love God more, but you’re not quite sure how to go about making that happen. What does that look like, anyway? In John 14:15, Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Therefore, obeying God is connected to loving Him.
When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment is, He replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:370. So, according to the Son of God, loving God is at the top of the list. And we must love Him wholeheartedly, with ALL that is within us.
What Are You Feeding?
Understand that whatever you feed will grow. If you feed a plant, it will grow—but if you don’t feed it, it dies. What does this have to do with loving God?
If we feed our flesh (body) with whatever it craves, it will get stronger. Of course, physical starvation isn’t what we’re talking about here, but when our body wants something and we say “yes,” it will want more. If we constantly entertain ourselves, we will want more entertainment. If we continually give ourselves whatever food we desire, our body will crave even more food.
But if we feed our spirit, our spirit will get stronger, and that’s what we want. If we want to love God more deeply, we must change our appetite, and we do that by feeding our spirit the Word of God, praying more, giving more time and money to God, and attending church more, just to name a few. When we choose to read our Bible and pray rather than watch a television show, we are feeding our spirit and starving our flesh, and over time, our love for God will increase.
1. Increase Your Obedience to God’s Word
Continuing on with the theme of feeding, we must feed on and devour the Word of God to increase our love for God. Daily, we must read its stories and learn from the mistakes that others made. We must read about our Savior Jesus and study how He lived and what He taught His followers. We must read the Bible to see how to live, think and treat others, applying it to our lives every day.
However, if we read the Bible and ignore what it says, James says we only deceive ourselves: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. … But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:22,25). Obeying God and His Word is always linked to His blessings!
We must decide that what the Bible says is what we will do. What the Bible teaches, we will believe. What the Bible says, we will put into practice. As we make these changes, we will get closer to God, drawing Him nearer with our obedience.
2. Stop Neglecting Prayer
Throughout the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), we see that Jesus often broke away from the people and His disciples to pray. If the very Son of God needed time alone with His Father, how much more do we need to do the same?
The truth is, lack of prayer is a sign of unbelief and pride. If we sincerely believed that prayer would make a difference, we would be praying a lot more. If we’ll be honest with ourselves, not praying indicates that we don’t really believe that it will change things. When we don’t pray, we proudly believe that we can handle things ourselves and don’t need to involve God.
Prayer doesn’t have to be fancy and complicated; prayer is talking to God and listening to Him with an open heart and mind. An easy way to pray more is to make it part of your daily routine by starting your morning with prayer.
Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
3. Forgive Everyone—No Exceptions
This may not be something we want to hear, but it’s the truth. Jesus said, “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:15). We cannot receive what we are unwilling to give. We must forgive others if we want God to forgive us.
Paul knew that unforgiveness and offense are rooted in pride. When we are offended, we believe that our rights have been violated and that we’ve been wronged. But Paul said in Acts 24:16, “I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.” He prayed for fellow Christians “that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:10).
Unforgiveness and offense are all about self. Even when people don’t seem sorry or refuse to apologize, even when we truly feel taken advantage of and hurt, even when they don’t “deserve” it, God expects us to forgive. As Christians who want to love God more, we must release everything that we hold against anyone. The freedom that follows is truly miraculous.
4. Deny Self
This is another not-so-popular subject, but again, it is the truth. In Luke 9:23-24, Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”
It’s not exactly “human nature” to die to self. In fact, we want to preserve and save ourselves, not die to ourselves! Jesus knew how powerful self really is. When self rules, we decide how to live, act, and think. The cross symbolized death—Jesus was saying that we needed to put pride and self to death so that God could help us live, act and think His way.
In the same way, we must surrender our wills to His will. Jesus was our example in this: just before His crucifixion, He prayed, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). Jesus demonstrated His incredible love for His Father when He yielded even to death. Likewise, when we surrender our self and will to God, when we choose what He wants instead of what we want, we demonstrate our love of God.
5. Reject Worldly Mindsets
The ways of the world are contrary to the ways of God. Paul said in Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
We must constantly evaluate our thoughts and mindsets, comparing them to the Word of God. If we find ideas or beliefs that contradict the Bible, we must reject them. We must be careful not to participate in anything that encourages worldly thoughts, opinions or mindsets. Colossians 3:2 instructs us, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
Loving God more doesn’t just happen all by itself. If we want to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, then we have to do our part – we have to feed and strengthen our spirit by studying the Bible, talking to God regularly, freely forgiving others, denying our self and our way, and rejecting worldliness.
~ by Jennell Houts
Living By Faith – free eBook
Faithworks Centre, Prince Edward Island is a church where people from all walks of life join to grow in faith.
It’s not easy to live a life of faith in today’s fast-paced world.
That’s why we’ve created a 17-page, 3-part guide to Living By Faith.
Learn about how to strengthen your faith, follow Jesus’ command to love and serve others, and understand how love casts out fear.
Get your free guide by just entering your email address below!
Ann saysFebruary 16, 2017 at 11:25 pm
I really need help to past my grief and anger with God after the sudden death of our 20 year old son, 11 yrs. ago. I became a born again Christian Aug. 1993, our 2 sons also asked Jesus into their heart & soul as their Lord & Saviour. They attended a small rural Christian school soon after. I felt I was doing what God was asking of me, attending bible studies to get to know God more closely, reading my bible, attending church regularly with my family, then the rug was pulled out from us. My life, my very soul was crushed & God was nowhere, I felt like He had deserted me, I couldn’t/didn’t know how to deal with this sudden mountain of grief. “There is no grief like a mother’s grief.” I need help, have hardly touched my bible since loosing my precious son 11 yrs. ago, the heavy feeling of unconsoullable grief and anger – where do I even begin??? Any suggestions…… Ann
ARNOLD CUMIGAD saysJanuary 28, 2018 at 10:57 am
There is a time for everything that God set before at hand even before we were born. Time for joy, time for war, time to mend, time to cry…. see at Ecclesiastes 3. In every situations that occurs in our life whether good or in hardship we must thank God and don’t deny God in our life. Remember, God for has a plan for our lives.
Wisdom saysOctober 14, 2019 at 7:09 pm
My hearty condolences to you Ann. I’m no mother and I’d be wrong to say I know what it feels/felt like but at least I know it couldn’t have been a “tasty” experience for you.
All the same, I give God the glory that you asked this question, for it shows that you still desire Him and haven’t lost track completely. Life in itself is full of ups and downs. A bed of roses also has many thorns. Even in the way God deals with us Christians, there are many challenges. Job was an example but the Bible records that he never sinned by charging God with wrongdoing. So, dear Ann, never give up on God. Learn to show yourself a faithful servant despite the challenges. It may be just a test of your faith and after every test there’s always a result and promotion follows. Ask the Holy Spirit to heal your heart and to come afresh and you’ll experience joy unspeakable. Also, the Word of God is very innegligible. Read it and hear God speak to you the very words you’ll need to hear. Peace be with your spirit! – Wisdom
Frank saysMarch 24, 2021 at 11:42 am
Hi Ann, God bless you. I suggest you talk to God, let him know how you feel. Pray outloud in your private area and let it out. God has a plan for every one of us. Sometimes we do not understand it until later. My lil brother was killed when he turned 16, my cousin died of Diabetes at 27, and 3 of my childhood best friends were also murdered. One thing that has helped me is prayer and being able to talk about my grief with brothers and sisters in Christ. Talk bout your son and use his life and testimony to have a positive impact on others. May he Rest In Paradise. 1 Chronicles 16:11 Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
May you find peace in Jesus, Ann. I will keep you in prayer. God bless you and your family always.
Emma saysAugust 22, 2021 at 3:05 pm
Hi dear Anna I will be praying for your peace… Jesus said peace I leave with you. It is important to maintain this peace in our journey with Him.
I would like to share this with you. God is a giver and our children are the gift. If you do have a friend and they have given you a gift … it is amazing that you didn’t love their gift more than you love them. What I’m trying to say here is that God is the Giver your son being a gift. The one who gives good gift is to be praised, loved and cherished more than a gift. Your son is with Him and they are both looking forward to meet with you one day. The worse thing that can ever happen to our children is not passing on from this world but is not knowing the Lord as their saviour. You have done a great job by introducing the Lord into your son’s lives. You have given them the best gift of life.
My heart is filled with love for you and God loves you.
simbai saysOctober 21, 2021 at 7:08 pm
The fact you are here at this article means Jesus is running after you to help you put your feet on top of that mountain of grief
Josiah saysSeptember 12, 2018 at 5:49 am
Thank you so much. The article blessed me.
kiki saysMarch 11, 2020 at 11:40 am
thanks for this message blessed by it
VH saysApril 15, 2021 at 3:08 pm
Thank you for this article
Vh saysApril 15, 2021 at 3:25 pm
Thank you for this great article.
Micah saysAugust 15, 2021 at 6:26 pm
God bless you for this article. I’ve been a Christian and struggling with denying myself, and things of the world. Reading this has thought me practical ways of drawing myself closer to God each day, and coming out from those negative lifestyle. Blessings
Melanie saysSeptember 11, 2021 at 6:43 pm
I’m a mother of 5 and cannot even fathom the thought of losing one of my children. God loves you, Ann, so very much!! He has never left nor forsaken you. I cannot imagine the pain you have been feeling for the last 11 years and my heart goes out to you. Your son was so important in God’s plan that He needed him there in Heaven. And even though we don’t understand why, please take comfort in the knowledge that your son is with Jesus and that one precious day you will see him again. I pray for your continued healing day by day
Laura saysOctober 25, 2021 at 1:21 pm
Very well written. God bless