Before we attempt to answer the basic question posed by this article, we want to address the question: Why we should love God?
Most importantly, the Bible instructs us to love God. In the New Testament of the Bible, Matthew 22:37-38, Jesus Christ declares, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.” The wording of Mark 12:30 is very similar and, to a slightly lesser degree, so is the wording of Luke 10:27. In addition, there are a number of scriptures in the Old Testament of the Bile that command people to “love the Lord your God,” including Deuteronomy 6:5; 11:1, 13, 22; 13:3; 19:9; 30:6, 16, 20; and Joshua 22:5; 23:11.
Another reason for us to love God is because of our gratitude for all He has done to demonstrate His love for us. Those of us who are Christians are beneficiaries of God’s love that has enabled us to have eternal salvation, despite the fact that we continue to sin, even when our best intentions are to live according to His will. Also, many of us have had multiple experiences in which God has demonstrated His love for us by protecting us from serious injury or even death. In addition, many, if not most, of us have benefitted from God’s guidance in making crucial decisions that have resulted in a more fulfilling life than we probably would have had otherwise. Furthermore, because of God’s love for us, we can have the joy and peace that comes from trusting that He will never leave us or forsake us (see Deuteronomy 4:31; 31:6; 1 Samuel 12:22; and Hebrews 13:5).
Now, we will consider how we can demonstrate genuine love for God. In this regard, we want to emphasize that our love for God should be genuine love, not self-serving (i.e., selfish) love that is the antithesis of genuine love. We can demonstrate genuine love for God through our sincere efforts to live according to the teachings of the Bible, God’s Holy Word.
In John 14:15, Jesus Christ specifically addresses this matter, declaring, ““If you love Me, keep My commandments.” [Note: When we quote Scripture in this article, we use the wording in the New King James Version of the Bible.]
However, if we rely on just our own abilities, we are likely to fall far short in our efforts to consistently keep the commandments of Jesus Christ. Therefore, in addition to having a sincere desire to live according to what the Bible teaches, we also need to have a sincere desire to allow the Holy Spirit to control our life, so He can guide us and empower us to do the things that please God and, conversely, to refrain from doing the things that displease God.
But, how can we attain a sincere desire to allow the Holy Spirit to control our life so we will have genuine love for God? Perhaps, the best way to begin is to think about why we should love God, which we previously discussed. If we do not adequately understand what the Bible states in this regard and/or appreciate God’s love for us, it is unlikely that we will be sufficiently motivated to have genuine love for Him. Conversely, if we do understand what the Bible states in this regard and truly appreciate God’s love for us, we should have an earnest desire to genuinely love Him. Furthermore, it is important that we pray sincerely and regularly that God will help us each day to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind, as was previously stated with regard to Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; and Luke 10:27.
Summary and Conclusion
There are four principal factors that will enable us to demonstrate that our love for God is genuine. One factor is that we need to understand and appreciate the reasons why we should love God. A second factor is that we need to commit to having a sincere desire to live according to what the Bible teaches and this necessitates a third factor, which is that we allow the Holy Spirit to control our life. A fourth factor is that we need to pray sincerely and regularly that God will help us daily to love Him in accordance with biblical teaching. If we earnestly pursue all four of these factors, our life should demonstrate that our love for God is genuine.