Loving God With All Our Heart — Rick Lawson

Why are we here? What is the purpose of the universe? If God created everything, what does He get out of it?” These are the kinds of philosophical questions that have been pondered by man for millennia. The answers to questions like these are not found in transcendental meditation, plumbing the depths of man’s intellect, or by examining the cosmos with telescopes nor microscopes. These answers are found only in the mind of God and revealed by the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures! God does want something from man, and man has the ability to fulfil God’s desires. Let us examine the revealed will of God to find out what He wants from mankind and how we can fulfill His wishes.

What Does God Need?

Please remember, we are discussing what God wants and not what God needs. The fact is very clear in the Bible: God needs nothing! In the sermon preached on Mars Hill in Athens recorded in Acts 17, Paul said, “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things” (Act 17:24,  25). God is perfect, holy, and complete without any input from man whatsoever! In fact He is omnipotent.

Consider His creative power. “He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion” (Jer. 10:12). He did this without the assistance of man. God wants men to know and ponder His power to speak things into existence from nothing. Why else would He state it so often in the Scriptures? The psalmist wrote, “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Ps. 33:6). A few verses later he wrote, “For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (Ps. 33:9). The first words recorded from the mind of God emphasize His great power. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). God’s creative power is ex nihilo, the ability to bring things into existence from nothing.

Men are good at rearranging the things that God has already created. We can take trees and build beautiful houses. We can refine ores to make steel and erect magnificent skyscrapers. We can even take chemical compounds and make medicines to heal diseases. Man can not, however, create something from nothing! The universe demonstrates clearly that God needs nothing from man. It comes then as no surprise that God says, “If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof” (Ps. 50:12).

What Does God Deserve?

The Bible teaches clearly that God needs nothing from man, but what does it say about what He deserves?  Again the Psalmist informs us, “Praise the Lord; for the Lord is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant” (Ps. 135:3).  All creatures

are also to praise him.  “Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein” (Ps. 69:34). The Psalmist declares the height of God’s worthiness to be praised: “Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven” (Ps. 148:13). In fact the word “praise” is found one hundred and sixty times in the book of Psalms alone! Certainly, God deserves to be praised.

Did God create man so that he could give Him the praise He deserves? The Bible reveals that God receives praise despite what man chooses to do. The angels of heaven praise the Lord.  When the apostle John was given a glimpse into Heaven by the eye of faith he saw angelic beings praising God around his throne:

“And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.  And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever” (Rev. 4:6-9).

Later John wrote, “And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen” (Rev. 7:11, 12). Hear the words of the Psalmist, “Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts” (Ps. 148:1, 2).  When Jesus’ disciples praised Him and received rebuke from the Pharisees, Jesus said, “I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out” (Lk. 19:40). God is not only worthy of praise, but He is praised by the bulk of His creation whatever men may choose to do!

What Does God Want?

What God wants is for man to love Him with all his heart! This has always been God’s desire. He commanded the Israelites, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deut. 6:4-5). It is of great significance that Jesus quoted this passage when asked by the Pharisees what the greatest commandment was. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matt. 22:37-38). These days men have confused the real meaning of love. Biblical love is not just some sappy emotion felt and then abandoned with no real change seen in our daily conduct. God has always connected the emotion of true love with obedience.

In the Old Testament God made it clear to his people that love and obedience were joined together. “Therefore thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway” (Deut. 11:1). One can not truly love God and reject His commandments! Jesus made this clear as well. “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me” (John 14:23-24). The Master also said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). To love God means to obey Him.

Loving God with all our heart means full commitment. In God’s Word the heart does not refer to the blood pump in our chest but  to the mind of man. How devoted to God are you? Some have a divided allegiance. With part of their minds they give lip service to Jehovah and with another part they serve self, Satan, and sin. James warns, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). That which is unstable is bound to fall!  No matter how much we may love God it is good to remember that he loved us first and most! “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

To truly love God we must have a dedication to him that changes our daily conduct. We must use his commandment as our marching orders. We must put God first in all we do. If we will love Him with all our heart, He will reward us! “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). May the Lord bless you as you love and serve Him!

Rick preaches at the Adairsville congregation in Adairsville, GA.

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