“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength” (Dt. 6:5).
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?’ Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment'” (Matthew 22:36-38).
God left no doubt as to which commandment was the greatest of all.
This week, Valentine’s Day has me thinking about it all over again.
I want to do more than just express to God the love I already have for Him. I want to gain more of that love to express! Is that possible? First Corinthians 13:13 tells us that love is even greater than faith.
We all believe in the importance of increasing our faith in God, so why not give as much attention to increasing our love for God?
I have heard a great many sermons reminding me to show more love TO God. I am still waiting to hear my first sermon on HOW to obtain more love FOR God! So, in an effort to bring Jesus a more affectionate valentine, I studied to come up with a few thoughts on the topic myself. Here, then, are 10 ways to increase our love for Christ.
- Pray for it!
“And we can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will” (I John 5:14-15).
Sometimes, we can forget the most obvious and significant way to get anything from God; especially something He is so pleased to grant us … ASK Him for it!
- Tap into the Father’s own love for Jesus!
“And I have revealed you to them and will keep on revealing you. I will do this so that your love for me may be in them and I in them” (John 17:26).
Let’s trace the glorious sequence of cause and effect given to us in this awesome verse… The more we study the words and deeds of Jesus, the more the Father is revealed to us; The more the Father is revealed to us, the more we will come to possess His own love for His Son! Whoa!!
- Obey more…
“Those who obey my commandments are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them, and I will love them. And I will reveal myself to each one of them” (John 14:21).
Here again, is a very compelling cause and effect. Greater obedience brings greater revelation of God. Does it not stand to reason that a greater revelation of God would bring to our hearts more love for Him as well!? It is an exciting possibility which motivates me to obedience!
- Meditate on the perfection of the person of Christ…
“Then the LORD told him, ‘Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to the top of a pole. Those who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!'” (Numbers 21:7).
“And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life” (Jn. 3:14-15).
I have heard it said that the opposite of love is not hate, but apathy.
The most intimate devotional time I ever had with the Lord was 30 minutes I spent one lunch hour just thinking about the perfection of the character of Christ! It was as if I stood gazing up at the serpent Moses placed on the pole – – I was healed of the toxin of my apathy and revived with love for Christ!
- Keep a journal of answered prayers…
“I love the LORD because he hears and answers my prayers” (Ps. 116:1).
Our Christmas tree ornaments are not very attractive at all. My wife and I made them ourselves, and neither of us is artistically gifted. Yet we delight in them every year because each ornament is decorated to remind us of one of the many wondrous answers to prayer we have received over the years from God. And every time we see them again, our love for God is freshly stirred as we recall His faithfulness!
- Present God with an offering BEFORE you feel like it!
“Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be” (Mt. 6:21).
I wrote an article the first week of January for RR about this verse.
The promise Jesus gives us here intrigues me! Can we send our time and treasure on ahead of our hearts and then watch as our hearts rise up to follow? If so, then commitment to the Lord can actually create fresh affection for the Lord!
- Re-acquaint yourself with the weight of the sins that Jesus forgave…
“I tell you, her sins – and they are many – have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love” (Lk. 7:47).
Here is the thing to remember… our sins were as great as those of the adulterous woman! So why did she love Jesus more than some of us do?
Could it be that we have “forgotten the pit from which we were dug”?
We don’t like to think about our sins, but maybe there is benefit to doing so. Recalling what I was and where I would have been without the Lord’s rescue of me helps me to stir up the embers of my affection for Jesus.
- Acquaint yourself with the depth and breadth of God’s love for you!
“We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
Just as a wife responds to her husband’s initiatives of affection, so the Bride of Christ was created to respond to her heavenly Bridegroom’s initiatives in the same way. Revisit the passages where God explains His love for His Bride. Reconsider them and rejoice again in His love for you. You will find your love for Him rise up again in response.
Just a suggestion here… read the Song of Songs and reckon it to be what many Bible teachers say it is – – a love letter about you and Jesus!
- Pray for more FAITH to believe what you read about God’s love…
“The purpose of my instruction is that all the Christians there would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and sincere faith” (I Tim. 1:5).
Love comes from having the 3 things Paul speaks about in this verse.
The first two are accomplished every time we are washed in the blood of Jesus. The third thing that fills us with love for God is faith, particularly, I think, faith to believe what God’s Word tells us about His love for us. Let’s pray for more faith to believe those passages we read for #8.
- Ask others to pray that God would increase your love for the Savior!
“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you” (Mt. 18:19).
“Prayer partners.” Even the term sounds old-fashioned. But, could it be that our parents knew something about the power of prayer that we have forgotten? Just as Jonathan and his armor-bearer took a hill together and led the Israelites to a great victory over their enemies (1 Sam. 14), we can win victories through prayers agreed with by spiritual comrades in arms!
This week, as we celebrate Valentine’s Day, I invite you all to begin a quest to obtain from the Father the very thing He would so delight to give us – – more love for His Son!
Asher Mandel, firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. >> If anyone comes up with #11, 12 or more, please let me know. I am still on the same quest myself!