In the well-known “Great Commandment,” Jesus directed His followers to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” How do we develop and sustain this love relationship with God?
Study the following biblical references and consider how they address the questions listed below. If using this outline with a small group, consider assigning questions and Scriptures to different individuals, or take one or more of the questions per week, adding scriptural references from the group as you meet. Then, perhaps in later weeks, scroll down the page to review our recommended resources for the topic of Affections for God and consider how the various articles or podcasts provide further insights relating to this topic.
- Why should we love God? Matthew 22:36-40; 1 John 3:1, 4:19; Psalm 31:21-23
- How do we show love for God? Psalm 18:1-3; John 14:15, 21; I John 4:7-21
- How do we develop love for God? 2 Thessalonians 3:5; Jude 21; Psalm 100; Psalm 101:1-2
- What are some things which distract us from love of God? Matthew 10:37-39; Mark 4:18-19; Matthew 6:24; Revelation 2:4-5
- We have titled this sub-domain “Affections for God” as opposed to “Love for God.” Are we right to do so? The New Testament translates two Greek words as “love,” phileo and agape. The former may be translated as “tender affection,” as of a parent for a child or a friend for a friend; the latter is difficult to translate directly because it is almost unique to the New Testament. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words says of agape “…it expresses the deep and constant ‘love’ and interest of a perfect Being toward entirely unworthy objects, producing and fostering a reverential ‘love’ in them towards the Giver, and a practical ‘love’ towards those who are partakers of the same.” Jesus uses agape in the Great Commission, but then apparently accepts Peter’s phileo as a profession of Peter’s love for Him. What are we to make of all this? 1 Corinthians 13:1-7; John 21:15-17
- Do you love God? How do you know?