Emotionally Love God
“Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart'”—Matthew 22:37a.
Emotionally love God for faith has feelings: feelings of gratitude for God’s grace, feelings of joy for friendship with Jesus, and feelings of hope for a heavenly home. Emotions are meant to engage eternity, not be wed to the world. Worry can wreck a life if a heart is consumed with what it can’t control—so trust Jesus with your feelings.
Because the heart is the seat of emotions, we are wise to guard our hearts. Wisdom appoints the sentinels of grace and truth to protect feelings by grounding them in faith. Pride makes promises to your heart it cannot keep. For example, it may capture your emotions with selfish-ambition, only to ruin relationships. Humility on the other hand, handles your heart with tender care. It leads it into unselfish service and true fulfillment.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).
We can trust our feelings with the object of our love—Jesus. Our heavenly Father wants to hear our heart—when it breaks under the weight of worry - or when it explodes in joy.
Love for the Lord is more than a mental exchange of information and learning - it is a heart engagement that feels affection for Almighty God. Faith feels what God feels.
Truth transforms how we feel: what breaks the heart of God breaks our heart. Lost sinners break our heart—injustice breaks our heart - murdering the innocent breaks our heart—starvation and disease breaks our heart. Also, what brings Jesus joy brings us joy: love, faith, forgiveness, hope, trust, service and generosity all bring a smile to His face.
“The Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God” (John 16:27).
Indeed, a heart moved by God is moved to action. You are faithful to the Lord and His priorities when your emotions feel His pain and celebrate His pleasures. It is not enough to just feel good, sense empathy or experience guilt —true love expresses itself in action. Your heart-felt love for your heavenly Father moves you to write a generous check, roll up your sleeves to serve, intentionally forgive and earnestly pray for others.
Release your emotions to Christ and He will channel your energy into productive activity. Emotionally love the Lord and He will empower you for eternity’s agenda. Lovers of God are known by God and are able to radically receive His love and give it liberally.
“Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God” (1 Corinthians 8:2-3).
Prayer: How can I love the Lord, so I am able to express my positive and negative feelings?
Related Readings: Joshua 22:5; Proverbs 24:12; 2 Corinthians 9:7; Philippians 4:7