10 Ways to Love God
By Pastor Tom Anderson
How is your love-life with God? Love is nothing to take for granted. The Holy Spirit gave me a list of 10 things you can do to love God in this New Year.
1) Put first things first.
A saving relationship with Jesus Christ is more important than anything else in life. Are you passionate and relentless in pursuing a relationship with Jesus? I am amazed at the passion we Americans have for achievement in sports. The results show themselves at the Olympic games. I aspire to this kind of relentless passion to develop my relationship with Jesus!
2) Seek holiness.
Only through the Holy Spirit can I become filled with the love of God and live in obedient communion with him. But what I can do is put my eyes on the prize. I can decide to want holiness. I can learn what holiness is. It starts with knowing what the scriptures say about those three bugaboos of human life: sex, money and power. The world says it’s your body–follow your heart. The world says it’s your money–follow your heart. The world says you have power–use it to get what you want. But God says it’s not your body, I bought it. God says, it’s not your money, I made you my steward. God says power is given to serve others, not yourself. Earnestly desire and pray for God to make you holy.
3) Join a Thrive group!
Start meeting weekly with a small group of other Christians to read scripture together and encourage, challenge and pray for progress in your spiritual life with Christ. Make a commitment to grow. Make a decision to grow and you will grow.
4) Pray daily.
What kind of love relationship is it when you don’t talk or listen to the other person every day? Who would tolerate that in their spouse? Who would tolerate that in their children? Prayer is something you learn by doing, so start doing it. Open your heart to God. Open your mouth to God and open your ears to God and do it at a set time and place each day.
5) Read the Bible.
The Bible is God’s word to us. If you want to love God you should learn to hang on His every word! I love how Psalm 119 expresses it: “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.” (Ps 119:15-16)
6) Attend worship every week.
Worship is not a law, it's an act of love. People who love God naturally worship God. Many say, “I worship God in my own way and on my own time.” But what they are really doing is just taking time for themselves. This is not God-focused, God-thanking and God-loving worship.
Sunday is God’s day. He made it the Lord’s Day when he rose from the dead. He gave the time, the place, and the reasons to worship. Don’t let your love grow cold. Show up on Sundays!
7) Get along with other Christians.
The hardest part about loving God is other people who also love God! The temptation in the spiritual life is pride. Pride leads us to judge the faith of others and there is a toxic prickliness that chokes out the love for God.
In another church I served, a carpenter volunteered a week to build scenery for Vacation Bible School. He built a fantastic Mexican village complete with a water fountain at the front of the church. It was there Sunday morning as we dedicated our Bible school to God. After church a man rushed forward to catch me. He launched into an angry tirade about how the scenery had ruined his worship experience. It wasn’t the first time I’d experienced his toxic prickliness. The Holy Spirit gave me the words. I said, “You need to look into your soul and ask yourself why you come to church so angry. If coming here makes you angry, it’s not doing you any good and it's not doing God any good. Look into your soul and ask where this is coming from because an effort to share Jesus with children shouldn’t be making you angry.”
Do you need to pick a different attitude? Do you need to turn away from toxic prickliness?
Love God with your time. We have a nursery that needs volunteers. We have children’s and youth ministries that need volunteers. We have a praise team that needs volunteers. We have a Centershot ministry, an American Heritage Girl Troop, a bell choir, a weekly cleaning ministry, a Mission to Mexico, and a lawn mowing crew that need volunteers.
We do this every week in tithing and cheerful giving. Don’t ever give out of guilt or shame or some calculation of fairness. Give out of love. Give to express your gratitude to God for his grace to you. Give because of the joy of Jesus. God doesn’t ask for dues. God doesn’t calculate “fair share”. God just wants you to love him. So make a financial plan to love God in your giving.
If you want to increase your love for God, one of the best ways is to start giving away the love for God that you have. Love God by making personal invitations to others to come.
People–not programs–attract people. When Andrew found Jesus he went and got his brother Peter. When Peter found Jesus, he went and told his friend Phillip. That’s how it works. You love God by sharing your love through invitations to others.
So there’s your love God list for 2022. Love Him with your heart and soul. Use all your mind. Pour out your strength. This is your first and most important resolution for the New Year.