The Call to Love

Chain with heart
When asked by a teacher of the law, “Which is the quintessential commandment?” Jesus didn’t stop and think about it. He quoted directly from the Old Testament, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.”

This call to love far exceeds emotive sentiment.

When Jesus included the word ALL—all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength, He specified a progressive love, one that involves more and more, until every aspect of our being belongs to Him.

God asks a lot of us. But there’s an ironic twist in this call to love. Loving God benefits us.

In fact, God’s greatest command meets our deepest need. His preeminent requirement of us is the thing we need most. God’s desire for you and me is that we love Him, because our well-being depends on a meaningful, adoring relationship with God. So his uncompromising love for us demands that we love him.

So how do we get to the place of loving God with all our being? How can we fulfill this supreme call to love?

The apostle John tells us, “We love God because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). This truth teaches that our love for God is in response to his love for us. The more we realize God’s love for us, the greater capacity we have to love him in return.

The apostle Paul: “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19).

The only way to grasp God’s endless sacrificial love is to know about it.

I’m often asked, “What’s been the greatest benefit of memorizing God’s Word?” I answer without hesitation, “Memorizing the Bible helps me know God more, so that I can love Him more.”

When I’m filled up with the love of God, my gratified hearts seek no other source of joy. When my soul runs dry I run back for more, because I know that if I don’t, my idolatrous heart will seek to be filled with other things. And its impossible to fulfill the call to love God with a divided heart.

I’d love to hear from you, how memorizing God’s Word has helped you love Him more.

9 comments to The Call to Love

  • Teresa

    So true memorizing God’s word is the key to knowing and loving him.

  • Barbara A.

    Janet, thank you for this post. It explains this “ironic twist” so well. This is the one concept I have puzzled over again and again, and you have so beautifully explained it. I agree, that memorizing Scripture has taught me to know and love Him more, and as a result to trust Him more and more with all the details of life. And what peace that brings! Thank you, again!

    • Hi Barbara, So glad I helped to clear up the puzzle. For years I couldn’t get my arms around God’s command to love him, like maybe God needed our love. But God does not need our love. WE are the ones who need to love Him. And we are the beneficiaries for sure.

  • Tony

    Janet, reading this, I couldn’t help thinking of something that my wife and I often explain. From John 14:15 “”If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” What we have come to realize from this verse is that if we love Him, we will WANT to keep His commandments, and therefore obeying Him will not be a chore or a burden, but an absolute joy. The more I memorize, as you have said before, the more I enjoy being His because I do understand Him better. And again, thank you for your kind reminders.

    • Hi Tony, Your comment reminds me of 1John 5:3 “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.” Glad you shared that.

  • Beverly Schlomann

    I just found your blog, and am encouraged by your words.
    Memorizing scripture is something that God specifically enables me to do. You see, 4 years ago, during thyroid cancer surgery, I sustained a brain injury. I have difficulty with short term memory, and sensory overload, as well as horrid headaches. Reading is difficult, and I cannot concentrate for long periods (sometimes no more than 10 minutes).
    Before, memorizing was easy. But I have asked God to help me store up his word in my heart so that I may not sin against him. Currently I am working on John 17. I don’t know how long it will take me, but knowing Him through His word is so worth it!
    (As a side benefit, memorizing is good rehab for my brain)

    • Wow Beverly, I love hearing your story. What a testimony that someone who struggles still perseveres to memorize God’s Word, while so many with healthy brain function don’t make the effort. You are a jewel. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

  • Janet, I was reminded of Mathew 6:24, how we can not serve two masters. It divides our hearts . Memorizing God’s Word does cause us to know Him better, and the more I know Him, the more I love Him. Still working on the Sermon on the Mount, wow! Amazing, love it! Jesus, the best preacher ever!

    • You’re right Vickie. And, memorizing helps us see more clearly the contrast between Jesus and everything else. And there’s no comparison so why serve another master. We need these constant reminders and that’s what God’s Word does. Yes, best preacher ever!