Loving God

In my last post I talked about God’s Christmas wish list, and how our love for him is top priority. Here are some more ways to love God.

Trust and Obey
Another gift God appreciates is our faith. Do we trust Him? My friend Cynthia, who writes an excellent blog about prayer, recently wrote about something God told her:

When I meet you the way you ask Me to, you are blessed. You receive My grace-gifts, and you feel blessed. But when I don’t meet you the way you hoped yet you continue to trust Me anyhow—then you bless Me. You give Me your trust-gift, and I feel blessed.

Giving God our trust totally makes his day. So does our obedience. Obeying God tells him that we love him. Consider John 14:23: “Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.'”

Obeying God isn’t always easy. Think about Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac—he was willing to obey God even though it would cost him what he cared about the most. Of course, God provided another sacrifice, and Isaac was spared.

I’ve never been asked to sacrifice one of my children (I highly doubt I could have done what Abraham did). But God has asked me to do (or not do) hard things. Sometimes I obeyed. Sometimes I’m ashamed to say I wimped out, and once again needed God’s grace and forgiveness. But I wish I had obeyed the first time.

That’s because obeying God isn’t just for his sake—it also blesses us. Deuteronomy 12:28 says,

Observe and obey all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God.

We might not see the benefits at the time, but we can trust God that he always has our (and others’) best in mind when he asks us to obey him.

Worship
God desires—actually demands—our worship. Again, this blesses him, and it blesses us.

As a new believer I found the whole experience of worship quite confusing. The church seemed to equate it with singing, and singing is not one of my strong points. In fact, I’m rather significantly “musically challenged” (to put it nicely). I finally realized that singing is just one way people express their devotion to God—it’s certainly not the only way!

I’ve written before about how I consider my photography a way I worship God. As I try to capture the beauty and detail he put into his creation, I’m overwhelmed by his grandeur and majesty. My photography leads to praise, and praise, like gratitude, is always an appropriate gift for God.

We often consider praise and worship to be the same thing, but they really aren’t. We can praise God without giving him our devotion. After all, you tell your dog how good she was for sitting when you said “sit”—but you certainly don’t worship her (I hope)!

I think of worship as obeying the first of the Ten Commandments: “You shall have no other gods before me.” I worship by putting God first, ahead of family and career and possessions, ahead of my dreams and desires, ahead of my very life. My worship may have an emotional component, as I get when singing, or it may be an act of my will, as when I submit to him and praise him even when I don’t like how things are going.

Another way we demonstrate our love for God is to love those whom he loves. I’ll talk about that next time.

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