I posed the question in the previous post, "Loving God is about what...exactly?" I received the following ideas from some of my readers. I agree with each one.
kim's hotrod said, "...I'm beginning to think that it's something totally different (from the things I do for God). That maybe loving God is accomplished by loving each other, especially those whom we least want to love."
I agree and see the love of God and accomplishing actions which are motivated in us by His love as inseparable. Clearly, the action of loving others His way drives the building up of our love for Him.
steve said, "To me, it's allowing his life to be lived through me out of sheer gratitude for the fact that I even have the opportunity to let him live through me!"
This also speaks to the connectedness of His love and our choosing actions in harmony with that love.
alan said, "There are certainly many evidences of our love of God: devotion toward God, feelings toward God, doing things for others, caring for things that God cares about, etc. But I don't think these are the essence or nature of love." This comment articulates evidences of something going on in our hearts, but raises the question is such "the essence or nature of love?"
jesse added this: "I think loving God is simply loving without fear of rejection, like is illustrated to us by a small child loving his parents." Jesse, I think is digging more into the essence how the love we feel for God may be hindered by some lack of faith in us.
josiah says, "So loving God is response to his love thus, if you love Me, obey." Again we see a witness speak of that connection between what we know of loving God and the actions we choose in response.
As I have mentioned in a previous post or two, I have a sincere trust in the view that the voice of many brings into focus the fullest possible meaning. I think the witnessing of experience amongst readers who chose to respond establishes loving God and loving action are connected, and that we will encounter hindrances. God is a compelling motivator to loving actions. However the actions alone are not the evidence that we love God. It is difficult to separate what we feel from and for God and the actions which will follow. As kim's hotrod alluded to, we must guard against doing the actions alone, as if "doing" automatically indicates "being" in connection with and loving the Presence of God within us. jesse speaks to something which must be dealt with in order to enter into loving God. Our faith must embrace that His perfect love for us is reason to cast out fear from our hearts. This is an important precursor to entering into the loving of God. Such a good insight I had not considered as I thought over what I would write!
I do not wish to enter into absolutes of what explains loving God. I understand that this will begin to take on separate meanings for individuals, and I respect the authenticity of such. Yet I do believe there are some attributes of loving God which may be identified as universal. I also do not suggest that what I am about to write is an exclusive list of a universal human experience. These are just a few of my thoughts.
I think we believers need time, call it prayer, meditation, thinking, in which honest emotional feelings of love for God are engendered. I love my wife and children intensely. Thinking of any of these individuals always brings a stirring of my emotions. I decided a few years ago to allow thinking of my heavenly Father and His Son to engender an emotional response as well. God is not simply an intellectual construct. He is a living Being. Further, I seek in moments of rest (not lying down, drowsy rest, but emotional rest from the mental and physical work of existence in this life) to open my heart and sense His love for me flowing into me. I believe that the Father has expressed a desire to commune with humans. Adam walked with God in the evening. This relationship was broken, but has been restored by the Second Adam, Jesus. Communion with God is an act of faith, not just study. Study gives my mind the needed constructs. My heart opens me to feel the reality.
In the day to day, there is a simple emotional maneuver I may practice. That is recognizing that my personality is on "auto-pilot". I am the person I was shaped and nurtured to be. I cannot stop being me. I respond to the stimulus of life in predictable ways, in patterns that reflect my inner-being. In order to keep the auto-pilot from calling attention to myself or mandate a situation to go in my favor or toward ends I find desirable, or not describe the story going on around me to myself as if I am what it is all about, I have to do something. I have to override the auto-pilot. I must make a willful decision to see God in the moment, feel His Presence, and act accordingly.
A key to loving God is by faith to find one's will enabled to move toward Him regardless of how the natural man is reacting to the stimulus from the outside world. We die to inclinations and impulses, and as a function of the will, be the new man He has birthed within us. To do such is an inward act of loving God that has very fruitful consequences in how we conduct ourselves.
If that makes any sense to you, then take one final semantic step with me. To exercise one's will toward God, based on the faith that what God has done enables such, and motivated because an active sense of loving exists between the Father and one's self is an emotional reality and a spiritual state. This state, I contend, is that which we reference in Scripture as,"walking in the spirit." Therefore, to love God is to be opened to the walk in the spirit He desires for us.