To Know God is to Love Him
- March 17, 2019
- Jared Odenbeck
[This is Part 3 of a larger piece entitled, “An Inquiry into The Incompatibility of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a Religious, Performance-Based Psychology”]
How Do We Overcome this Cycle?
How do we proceed from the knowledge of Truth – namely, the knowledge of total and complete acceptance, love, forgiveness, and security in him for you – into action? True love moves from affection into action. 1 John 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” True love rejoices in the word and his commandments. True love desires him over all worldly pleasures and temptations.
You serve, obey, and honor what you love and enjoy in superiority to all other things. Jesus explains, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Supreme values dictate decisions. God-glorifying desires birth God-honoring decisions.
Jesus says, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40). Three principles influence and guide the Christian – love for God, love for others, and a love of self – and all decisions should hinge on an application of these.
What does it mean to love God? A decision that loves God says “yes” to these questions: Will this act cause his name to be glorified? Will it honor his desire for my life? Will it uplift him as the most valuable treasure in my life?
What does it mean to love others? A decision that loves others says “yes” to these questions: Will this act respect and honor the other? Will this love the other? Will this convey their value and worth to them?
What does it mean to love yourself? Jesus commands, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). To love yourself, to live in self-respect, is a prerequisite to loving another or loving God. To love God or love another demands that you love and respect yourself to the degree that you can exalt others and God above yourself. If you do not value yourself, you certainly will not esteem others, and your desires will certainly rival God’s. But, if you respect and love yourself, you will live in subjection to God, because you know, understand, and believe that you are accepted and loved by him.
Conclusion and a Note on Objections
I understand that such writing, given such a topic, begs for objection. I readily admit that I am without knowledge on all things. I do not understand all. Much remains mystery to me. In this essay, I aimed to construct an argument that covered the costs of a performance mindset in conjunction with the Gospel, and the benefits of a true Gospel understanding from the fields of psychology, sociology as well as the Bible. Again, I am not expert, and I wish that anyone would feel welcome to critique, challenge, comment, or content with any piece of this work.
To know God is to love him, and to love him is to keep him commandments. Obedience comes not from building the highest fence, from suppressing desire, or from modifying behavior. Obedience comes from knowing Love. I long for myself and the world to arrive at an understanding of the vastness of this Love – Love that came down from on high, dwelt with men, paid the ultimate price, and awaits us at his door.