Closer to God through Genuine Love

We may sometimes wonder why we are making so little progress in spiritual life or not coming closer to God. We need to look at our “love thermometer”: what is the temperature of our love for God?

Love is the greatest theme of the Bible. Love is the reason for the whole work of salvation and the indescribable work of redemption that God accomplished through Christ. Without love, God would never have come down to us to save us. John confirms this: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!…In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 3:1 and 4:10). Through the incarnation of His Son, God came close to us because of love.

Likewise, if we want a close relationship with God, it can only happen through love. Love is the means for deep connections. It is also the strongest element that unites two individuals into one. In Scripture, we read that the love of God is the inner compulsion of the Almighty Creator towards His creation. Genuine love seeks an object with which it can communicate and offer itself.  Love seeks connection and communion.

The connection between heaven and earth came about through God’s love, and pure human love also possesses this trait. People who love each other deepen their closeness and relationship. In the same way, we develop closeness with God when love connects us on a deeper level with Him.

Jesus gave His disciples an urgent recommendation: “Abide in my love!” (John 15:9) He clearly showed that our preservation and security lies in love. He explains “abiding in His love” as follows in verse 10: “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”

Love shows itself through voluntary obedience. There is no other way. Jesus says: “I must be in that which is My Father’s.” What the Father did and loved, Jesus also did and loved. This is how He demonstrated His love for the Father. This is a simple but very valuable guideline for every Christian life. Often, people, especially young people, ask: “What am I allowed to do as a Christian, and what am I not allowed to do?” Do what God wants and what He loves, and you will never go wrong, because this path leads closer to God.

The love that brings us closer to God is shown in Matthew 22:37: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart.” Much is said about this love, but little is actually seen.  Love for God is shown in our attitude toward God and in what we do for Him. Of Jesus, we read the testimony, “Behold, I come…to do Your will, O God” (Hebrews 10:7). Again, He affirmed, “…not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38). Here we see two particular things: Jesus did not seek His will, but did the Father’s will. Therein lies the proof of love. Love is ready for the greatest sacrifices. When Peter affirmed three times that he loved the Lord, Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” That is: prove your love by what you do! 

All of God’s children should be filled with the love of truth, for it will keep our hearts open, ensure we walk in the light, and bring us closer to God. Where the love for truth diminishes, hardships will increase, and we will lose the path of coming closer to God.

Jesus said: “The truth shall make you free” (John 8:32), and it keeps us free. Spiritual gain and progress is only conceivable on the path of truth. One of the greatest decisions man has to make is the decision for or against the truth. This decision will set one’s life on the right or wrong course.

Often, people just lean toward the truth, but they never make it a solid foundation. It is not enough to hear the truth; we must remain in it! It is not enough to have the truth; it must be in us! In His high priestly prayer (John 17), Jesus said, “Sanctify them by Your truth!” The disciples were to be filled with the truth, immersed in the truth, set apart by the truth, and dedicated to sharing it with others. Being in this position makes straying from God out of the question.

The love of truth naturally includes God’s Word. Whoever has a Bible does not necessarily have the truth. But he who has the truth certainly has it from the Bible. Love for the Bible does not begin and end with reading it, but in willingly and joyfully living out the Word.

People who live close to God live close to the Bible, and from life that is close to the Bible comes a life that is close to God. People laid down their lives, even unto death, for the meaning and truth of the Bible.

How deep is our love for God and His truth? Consider this carefully, for your intimacy with God depends on it.

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