How to Love God with All Your Heart

We don’t want to live passive lives but long for it to be filled with fascination. We want our hearts to be consumed, to be apprehended. God knows this. He has put this desire in every person.

Think about the many things people sink their time and energy into. From hobbies, interests and relationships. People are looking for things to captivate them and bring a sense of fulfillment. 

It’s interesting that when Jesus lays out the most important commandment for mankind that He starts with loving the Lord with ALL of your heart and then continues on down the short list.

Mark 12:30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

I would think that if we are told to love the Lord with all our hearts that we ought to pursue it’s meaning.  What does that mean to love God with all our hearts and how do we go about doing it?

These are huge questions that need to be clearly answered.

1. RECOGNIZE THAT OUR AFFECTIONS DETERMINE OUR DEVOTION

First, let’s determine what the heart is all about.

The arena of the heart contains powerful emotions, affections and desires. Our affections are deep currents that steer our life. Think of them as a rudder of a ship that literally directs it.

To determine where our affections actually lie, we have to discern what occupies our time, what motivates our actions, what shapes our aspirations and what comprises their reward.

Affections wait to be captured. They long to cling to someone or something. Wherever these affections are found so will our hearts be.

2. UNDERSTAND THAT OUR AFFECTIONS FOLLOW WHAT WE TREASURE

The devotion of our hearts is determined by wherever we find value as our greatest treasure.

Matt. 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.”

Read this again slowly. “Where your treasure is…your heart will be” I would suggest memorizing this short phrase. Jesus just gave us the answer on how to love God with all our hearts. The heart loves what it treasures!

We have to seek a great treasure and when we discover it, love (the result of our affections) follows. Ironic isn’t it? The treasure comes first and the heart comes second.

Matt. 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy, went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

In order for the heart to love Jesus completely, it has to treasure Him supremely. Our affections are the outcome of what we treasure. When we truly encounter the Lord in His glory and worth, loving Him with all our hearts will be the end result.

3. AIM TO MAKE JESUS YOUR GREATEST TREASURE

For the Apostle Paul, Jesus was THE treasure of his life. The loss of everything else was nothing compared to gaining Christ.

Phil. 3:8 “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”

Eph. 3:8 …this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,

Here is a picture of a man who found a treasure that exceeds all others. Jesus. Nothing comes close! The glory of Jesus is so amazing and so satisfying that once discovered, all else pales in comparison.

When we divert our attention away from the Lord, our love will begin to grow cold. It’s that simple. A lethargic church can be traced back to hearts that have misplaced affections. The greatest  treasure is no longer Christ but something or someone else.

4. SPEND TIME WITH THE LORD AND LET HIS LIGHT SHINE IN YOUR HEART

2 Cor. 4:6-7 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

Only through the persistent gaze on the face of the Lord and His glory do the streams of light pierce our hearts with the same power and force that keep the Seraphim consumed before His throne (Rev. 4:8).

START NOW – INITIAL STEPS TO CONSIDER

  1. We have to decide to pursue Him. Just pray it to the Lord, “Jesus I long for You to be my ultimate treasure, help me and give me power to do so!”  Pray this often through out the day.
  2. Start with the Bible. Open it and search out what it says about the glory of who Jesus is and what He has done.  If you don’t know where to start, just go to the Gospels.
  3. Make adjustments. What is it you are going to do daily that will allow you to grow into this reality. Write it down. Schedule it.
  4. Be with Him.  He delights in you. He wants to be with you and reveal Himself to you. He enjoys you! Set time aside to be with Him only.

YOUR TURN: How valuable do you see this simple truth? How important is this to our foundation to the Christian life? What has the Lord taught you about loving Him with all your heart?

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62 thoughts on “How to Love God with All Your Heart

  1. Thanks PG. :-)  I’ve never had an unnecessary reminder to intentionally set Him as the treasure of my life.  You could post on this subject every day, and it would still be the most important thing I would hear that day.  Thanks, man.  

      • Loved your article. Because of the upcoming election I looked up this subject. I just heard that Franklin Graham was voting for Romney because of his stand on major issues of today like abortion and gay rights. His father, Billy Graham said we should vote our FAITH. And I agree with Billy. But voting for the god that Mormons believe in is not voting my faith. I know I fail many times in keeping this commandment and I don’t get a chance to love God in many ways. I feel that voting for Romney would grieve God. Loving the lord our God should focus on loving the Lord completely, not loving human notions of freedom, government, or anything else and that includes abortion and any of our rights. What is most loving to our God should be our prime motivator, as the greatest commandment seems to make plain. And we should love the God of Abraham more than the god of Joseph Smith.
        . Love your God enough that even if you hate our President, in reverence to God, we will not vote for this FALSE PROPHET.

        • Thanks Shirley. Our government is/and has been, built on Christian principles which i know is eroding. The position I take in voting comes down to which candidate will give us to the best chance on securing these Christian principles. Though I would have hoped for a born-again believer to sit in the White House as President of the United States each and every term, it is just not so. So I would go with Franklins position, that you stated above, initially and then lean into what I believe the Holy Spirit is saying to me personally. I would then cast my vote. I would also continue to pray for God encounters for both, believing that first commandment to love God with all of your heart would become their reality.

    • Bill have Charis make you a gravator. She knows what to do. http://tentblogger.com/gravatar/ just in case she needs to know how to grab one. Takes a few minutes. :-)

      So glad you’re jumping in!

  2. Hi PG, Great article (as usual) :)  I have learned that for me that each day I set my affections and attention on one pursuit to know Him more, that is when I fall in love deeper and deeper with Jesus! I am on a great journey of learning how to love and be loved!  

  3. My comment crashed on my iphone this morning…bummer because it was better than the comment I’m about to make. When He has all your heart, you can hear from Him all the time, anywhere! When He has all access, we have all access. Our relationship is not just a devotion time…it’s in the car, on the job, wherever and whenever. Nothing like communion with the Lord ALL DAY LONG!

    • PD…Now that is Total Access. Affection brings Connection. No crashed iphones to spoil things. Maybe what happened to you with the iphone was prophetic to make the point. Man, the HUGE benefits of pursuing and treasuring Christ above all things! 

  4.  Great reminder! It’s my lifelong goal to set my face as flint (used to express how hard and unyielding something or someone is) in the direction of HIM who sits on the Throne! So thankful to have been given this gift of hunger to dig deep into the fullness of GOD!
    Great Post!
    Keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus!!! :)

    • I love the phrase “this gift of hunger”. I think Misty E sings about it. It takes God to love God. He initiates because he loved us first and love always gives. So cool to be in pursuit and running together! 

  5. Sometimes I read something from Ps Greg Simas and I realize again how smart he is!
    I love the idea of discovering firstly what our treasure is and then allow it to lead us. It could lead us to discover how cluttered our treasure room is! Maybe it’s time to clean our the storehouse and make a little extra room for the Lord.
    No, forget that… Clear it all out and let him have it all right?!

    • Ben…you made it over and landed a great comment. I would love to see you here more often! No pressure ;-)  Love what you said, “discover the treasure and let it lead us” Sweet! And you’re right, we have to much in the treasure room. Hope to see you consistently. Grace! 

      Grab an Gravatar so we can see you and hyperlink to your blog. http://tentblogger.com/gravatar/ just in case you need to know how to grab one. Takes a few minutes. :-)

  6. Thanks again PG!  This simple truth is worth it all.  I wasn’t brought into this growing up, I am thankful that this message is coming out from some great preachers and teachers.  I know it is NOT heard enough!  He has taught me that each day is a new day.  Even if I get off track or mess up I don’t have to start all over again.  He is always there waiting for me, even my weakest attempts capture His heart. 

    • Sometimes simplicity gets lost in clutter and loses it’s voice. We have to continually keep it in front of us. And you are right, the Lord is always waiting with joy. I think He smiles often. :-)

  7. My son recently shared with the true meaning of “blessed”. It is sharing in the deep joy and completeness that is just part of being divine. In other words God wants us to experience what he feels. This comes from loving God with all our heart. This is part of the treasure we have in Christ.

    • I love that! I often ask the Lord what’s on His heart. What is He thinking. Experiencing the depth of His emotions is such a great place to be. Thanks! Hope you come by regularly :-)  

  8. Hi pastor! I’m praying for the ‘increasing zeal to be in the presence of God,’ for only Him can satisfy the hunger in my heart. Thank you:))

  9. great post. I was reminded of the misty chorus, ‘there’s a war on the inside, it’s the arena to demonstrate my love for you’. our best we give Him is what no one else sees. good stuff!

    • I like that song by Misty. Good quote at the end. You should push up a blog post on it. I have always said that if you are the Lords in private you will have little problem being the Lords in public. Leadership is an inside job. We have to lead ourselves, first. ;)

  10. i am like bill, it doesn’t matter how many times i hear it and how many blogs i read about it, or how many times the Holy Spirit reminds me of it, i always always am in need of the encouragement to pursue loving Him with all my heart.  it makes me feel alive.  i love that He is patient with our weak love and yet gives us more grace continually to grow in our love for Him.  this is the one thing i want to achieve and be able to offer Him when i stand before Him – all of my affections.

    my recent post: tea bags and hot water

    • Great life goal as you stand before the Lord. This is such a growing reality in me and the rest of our team at cHOP. There is nothing higher than the First Commandment =) 

  11. “Be with Him. He delights in you. He wants to be with you and reveal Himself to you. He enjoys you! Set time aside to be with Him only.”

    Such wonderful words!

    Also I love the title “My One Pursuit”. The phrase is stuck in my mind, just saying it brings out such devotion. Very inspired.

    At http://www.howtolovegod.org is a free book draft that relates some methods to help one make loving God a habit, the best habit to indulge in!

    • Eric, so glad you like the post and the title of the site.The Lord is uniquely calling forth a people who share one simple passion – Jesus! Glad you shared here.

  12. Thank you very much…… I am really very blessed with what you have shared about loving God with all of our hearts and the rest. It minister to me so much. In fact, I love sharing it in our Sunday School. God bless you more!!!

    • I am glad you are sharing this post in your Sunday School class. I would love to get a report back from you to see how things went. So if you have time just add a comment. Thanks for reading and sharing. :)

  13. Thank you so much for your effort posting this article. I love reading this and I’m pretty sure that it will help me make a wonderful output. God bless!

  14. Thanks Greg for your insights. It really helped me in my sermon preparation. I’m currently preaching on Mark 12:28-31. God bless you more.

  15. awesome! just make me set my treasures right.. get me back on the track. thanks be to God for people like you. please keep postings:-D

    • It’s true, Neema. You are the target of His affections and delight! Here are a few scriptures to meditate on. 2 Samuel 22:20; Psalm 22:8; Psalm 16:3; Psalm 149:4; Psalm 35:27. Blessings!

  16. Jesus told us how to love him, John 14:15, 1 John 5:3, Matthew 22:36-40 Love is an action. By the way (Shirley) Hate is the opposite of Love, GOD is Love (1 John 4:8). If one hates one is void of love which is GOD, one by default is void of GOD….just a thought. > written with love, Pam

  17. That’s great. I would encourage you to really plug in there. My posts here on the blog can certainly help and encourage you…but I always feel it best to be in a local church, that you love and can find growth in.

    I revised my question above — are you from the United States (if so, what state?) or are you from another country?

  18. Thanks so much for this! I’ve been a christian since I was little and lately I’ve been wondering if I actually “love” God. I do believe in Him and follow God’s commands, but “loving” Him is something different…

    I’ve been having trouble sleeping because I’ve kept thinking about it and it has made me extremely anxious for countless nights. I want to love God but you can’t just decide to “love”, it’s not something you decide, it’s something you feel through your heart.

    It’s the first time I visit this website and I really feel like this is going to help. This gave me faith that if I actually try and give some time to God and connect with him (which I must admit I haven’t tried with honesty yet, my young mind unfortunately always thinking of things of this world instead of thinking of God), I will grow closer to Him and I’m sure I’ll start loving Him.

    Thanks again, I really needed this. God bless you!

    • Hi Dara. Glad you found the blog.

      You are on the right track. When we spend time with the Lord we grow to love him. This is where I think you are at. Remember emotion follows motion. In other words, do what is the right and feelings follow. Loving God is a choice and when the choice is made in the heart our feelings will arrive. Hope this makes sense. :)

  19. Hello Pastor Greg,

    Thanks for this message. I was deeply concerned about the lack of renewal in my life and the motives behind my prayer and life in general. I am so shocked that I really did not care whether Jesus was my all in all. I made a commitment and decided to focus on Him only and draw satisfaction and security from Him only. And I wanted to just hear somebody else explain this verse “Love the Lord with all your ……”. I am so glad I clicked on the links from Google and came to your website. Your devotional enabled me to commune with the Lord and made me re-commit to Him again.

    One of the reasons why I drew back from God is because I was His call to share the gospel to others as I was fearing persecution (live in a non-gospel country). But then you wouldn’t be treasuring Him if you want to avoid the bad things on this earth that come along with being a follower of Jesus.

    • Hello DJ. Glad you clicked the Google link and stopped by the blog. Love your pursuit of the Lord and your commitment to have Him be first place in your life. Always remember, the safest and most content place to be is right in the middle of God’s will. Fear is merely a misappropriation of our faith in God. Allow your fear to move you closer to His heart and step boldly into His plan. Your greatest experience in God lies right in front of you.

  20. Pastor Greg, thank you for sharing this, as this is a topic I am thinking for some time now, what actually does it mean to love our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength? When we put God first all else will follow, and I want that for my life to be true.
    One thing that is also very interesting to me is that He says to love him first, and after that comes to love others as ourselves. To me it seems we cannot even love ourselves and others properly if we do not love God first. What do you think?
    Best

    • Hi Igor. First, thanks for stopping by, great having you! In response, to your comment. Yes. I agree. The word used for love here is “agape” which is sacrificial and unselfish. It’s the kind of love Jesus demonstrated on earth as He went to the cross on our behalf. This love has it’s full expression in God and through believers. It’s supernatural by nature. So yes, in order to love ourselves and others as God does we need to receive His love in our hearts so we are empowered to love ourselves and our neighbors as He does. Blessings!

  21. Hey man, good words. Found this by googling “heart all in with Jesus” and you were the top post. Funny thing is at first had tried “heart all in with God” and there’s nothing. . .try it. Heart is hungry for God today, for the real deal. “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God, when shall I come appear before God?” Your words are good for direction. . . so hungry for the reality.