Love God 100%
Think of those you love with your whole heart. You'd get up early for them, dress up for them, sacrifice for them — ensure they get the best of you. Is this how you feel about God? Join in as we review what God says about love, tips for loving God when we don't feel loved, and testimonies about how God's expressions of love may be unexpected but they're always perfect. No one loves better than God and he loves us 100%. Let’s love him 100% right back.
Chapter 5: Love God 100%
*Listen to the chapter on You Are You Podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.*
It’s hard to describe what it’s like to be loved, isn’t it? Not that we don’t try. Look at books like Psalms and Songs of Solomon. Or at things like pop songs, poems, and greeting cards. When we love someone, we want to make it known!
As humans though, our love can be fickle. When someone hurts us intentionally or unintentionally, our reaction can be to take away our love and hide our hearts. The pain can feel too great. But as we grow in knowledge of both God’s love for us and the truths in his Word, we realize that love isn’t supposed to be a competition. We aren’t to love only when we’re loved back. God’s love for us is unconditional and he wants us to love others the same way. It might sound like a really tough thing to do, and sometimes it really is. But we can trust if God’s called us to something, he’s going to help us do it.
What Does God Say About Love?
Verses about love are placed all throughout the Bible. There’s a verse for every situation we’ll face in life. Whether we have questions about God’s love for us, in marriage, for our enemies, in general — we’ll find what we need in God’s Word.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35)
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Shall we take a moment and ask God to give us fresh revelation about these truths? We’ve likely heard these verses before but there’s always more truth we can glean from them.
When I did it, I felt God grip my heart and remind me of the gift of Jesus.
Imagine being asked to give away a favourite item. This could be anything from a childhood memento or a new handbag. If we felt God say to give it away, I think many of us would probably struggle! God’s brought me to a place where I want to love and serve him with my whole life, and even still… it wouldn’t be an easy thing for me to do immediately.
But God gave us his one and only Son. He watched as Jesus grew in Mary’s womb, adored his transition from baby into a man, delighted in his each breath, and knew that after 30 plus years he would eventually be treated horribly and killed so he could save sinful humans.
Imagine if we were called to do that!
The truth is that sometimes we are called to do things like this. Look at Abraham. During the last time I struggled with waiting for one of God’s promises, a friend gently reminded me of the time God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22). It’s easy to say “What?!” Why would God tell us he’s going to bless us with something, do it, and then take it away? But we know from this story that God doesn’t actually want Isaac’s life; he wants Abraham’s whole heart. He says,
Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22:12)
We won’t always understand God’s wisdom. Come on, be honest. Sometimes it takes us a long time to even understand things on earth (think about your school days!). What incredible love that God both gives us the strength to handle whatever he allows to happen to us.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
And that he intercedes for us when we don’t know what to pray
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. (Romans 8:26).
Now what about...
Loving God When We Don’t Feel Loved
What happens when we don’t feel loved? Maybe we’ve started to seek God but we don’t always hear him. Maybe our prayers haven’t been answered for so long we’re starting to doubt whether God loves us at all or maybe if he even exists? If these thoughts ever come into your mind, I pray you cast them away and ask God to help you see his truth. Read your Bible, put on a Christian podcast or sermon, listen to a worship song, declare the truth and wait for God to meet you. God promises that when we seek him we will find him.
If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. (Jeremiah 29:13)
Some days, we might not feel God’s love as strongly as others. That doesn’t mean that God isn’t loving us as much. And perhaps we’ll never understand why we go through valleys or dry seasons. But God knows what he’s doing and has given us tools to hold onto the truth that he loves us. For me, the Psalms are such a great comfort during these times. The writers powerfully understood the breadth and depth of human emotions, didn’t they?
Take a look at these verses from Psalm 145.
The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads. The eyes of all look to you in hope; you give them their food as they need it. When you open your hand, you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in everything he does; he is filled with kindness. The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth. He grants the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cries for help and rescues them. The Lord protects all those who love him, but he destroys the wicked. I will praise the Lord, and may everyone on earth bless his holy name forever and ever. (Psalm 145: 14-21).
God’s love is about so much more than feeling loved. We can literally go to him about everything.
If you’re wanting to experience more of God’s love, why not pray these words back to him? Sometimes he might answer by shifting our emotions — we might have felt so angry or sad but suddenly we just feel better. Other times God might speak through a still small voice. Or maybe a Bible verse or worship song lyric will come to mind and bring sweet comfort. Just to give a few examples.
It can take some time before we trust that we’re not just making things up. That God is really real, speaking to us and wants to share our burdens every day. But keep praying and seeking and wait and see (make notes in a journal and track how God speaks to you over time). He’ll do it for you, I’m confident because he’s done it for me — taken me from a lukewarm Christian who often stopped praying when things started to go well to a woman who prays daily because she’s realized that God speaks daily and that there’s no better way to live life than totally in love with God.
May we wise up and never let the enemy feed us lies that we’re not loved, lovely, loveable. We were bought with a price because of God’s great love for us. That’s the truth. May we believe it, see it, declare it!
God’s Expression of Love May Be Unexpected but It’s Always Perfect
No matter how young or old we are, we probably have an idea of what amazing love looks like. God’s love for us is even better than that. It’s probably way better than that. Once we realize this, telling and showing God we love him can become all we want to do.
When I sought God with all of my heart and he revealed more truths to me, my life was changed. There was nothing I wanted to do more than spend every second with him. Technically we always have God with us but I wanted a relationship that was tangibly real. Just as I would spend time hanging out with friends and family, I wanted to not only have daily Bible reading and prayer times but also schedule hangouts. To fast and pray and dream and walk and talk and worship and seek his face. He was my love above all and I was desperate for him.
Maintaining this kind of intimacy is like any other relationship. God made us and will always love us but he also gave us free will. He doesn’t force us to love and worship him, he wants us to genuinely want to do this.
In our culture, it’s not normal to live for others let alone live for God. Popular culture doesn’t encourage us to die to self and live for God. And it can be really easy to spend more time soaking in worldly attitudes than God’s truth if we’re not careful. I pray we always remember that God is GOD and as royal daughters we have special privileges. We can be in God’s presence learning about eternal truths. We have special duties. God has a plan for us and only we can carry it out. It is our privilege to live for our King and receive his love and lessons.
On the evening of my 31st birthday, I wrote a reflection of God’s love which I’ll read in a minute. There have been so many instances where God has loved me so beautifully that I longed for more of the same. For the first time ever, I wanted to spend my entire birthday with just God and be loved by him. And honestly I thought he would honour my heart and pour out his love like I wanted. But instead he poured out unexpected truths that showed me once again that God’s love is unlike any other. In his infinite wisdom, he takes us deeper and gives us what’s best for us. Even if we can’t see it yet, he’s got a plan to stretch us, mature us, and deeply love us in the most satisfying way.
Most years, I want to celebrate my birthday lavishly. Honestly I even like celebrating my half birthday haha. But this year was different. I truly, genuinely just want to spend it simply — with God. Tomorrow I will celebrate with friends but today I wanted to CHOOSE GOD first. Because I never have on my birthday before. You know how excited we can get at the thought of spending a whole day with someone we love - especially someone we’re just falling in love with? That’s the excitement I wanted. To have a chance to fan the flames of my love for God after finally realising that no fancy dinner, no present, no special trip (not that these things are bad!) ever comes close to the joy of just being in his presence.
So I waited expectantly for God to pour out his love on me today. I thought he would tangibly stir my heart and give me lots of specific words about my future. Honestly I thought he would smother me with his love, answer some prayers, and just make me feel really happy.
But uh… instead I felt God ask me to submit my will to his. During my prayer / journalling session earlier, an old favourite worship song came to mind.
*Your will above all else / My purpose remains / The art of losing myself / In bringing You praise (Hillsong’s From the Inside Out)
And then later in the day, I felt him nudge me to do something that made absolutely zero sense. But… the last time he asked me to do something similar, I ignored multiple (!!!) reminders before he eventually stopped and I had to deal with / repent of my disobedience. So I wrote it down and thought maybe I’d do it tomorrow. It’s my birthday after all, I just wanted to be loved (😅).
But… time passed and I wasn’t “feeling” any more loved. Instead the reminder came again! So, very confused, I pouted (Did God really say that… again?), got in bed and… began to read a Christian book by Bill Johnson. And these words stuck out.
“But understanding is not required for obedience. A normal Christian is one who obeys the revelations and promptings of the Holy Spirit without understanding.”
Well. That stirred me up. I did the thing that I thought made no sense and just gave it to God.
All of a sudden feeling drained, I went on Facebook, scrolled and saw Kris Vallotton had posted an article titled “Does God ever supersede our will in providential times?”
What a topic. I clicked, started reading and, again, God’s message rang out loud and clear:
“…God is moving in the midst of it all, and it’s vital we learn to move with Him even when we don’t understand.”
OK, God. I hear you.
Sometimes when our lives are going well, we can get comfortable. We start to assume God will show us love in certain ways, like he has before. But God isn’t a cookie cutter kind of God. He wants to grow us, stretch us, shape us according to his will. We might not get the shaping process or understand what the final design will be but we can know that we know God. And he has already won the war.
No one loves better than God and he loves us 100%. Let’s choose to love him 100% right back.
God’s love is the only love that will 100% satisfy.
God’s love for us is deeper than we could ever imagine.
God’s expression of love may be unexpected but it’s always perfect.
God’s love will transform your life.
God, help me love others like you love them.
God, help me see others like you see them.
God, help me to understand how to share your love with others.
God, help me to live each day rooted in your love for me.