Pursuing God

How to Love God with All Your Heart

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series How to Love God

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 and interests to 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, 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 lives. Think of them as a rudder of a ship that literally directs it.

To determine where our affections lie, we have to discern what occupies our time, what motivates our actions, and what shapes our aspirations and their rewards. Affections wait to be captured. They long to cling to someone or something. Wherever these affections are found so our hearts will 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 else 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.

Before You Go…

Question: 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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Greg Simas

• Pastor | Writer | Leader | Coach • Senior Leader of Convergence House of Prayer in SF Bay Area. "Building people whose lives change so they can change lives."

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113 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.  

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

    1. 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. Exactly!, Scofield, thanks @greg now a day, I think not everyone love god with all his/her heart.. as if most us are believing him that’s all because that’s believing god and worshiping them keep coming from decades, and these are the key point which I loved and over-warmed by after reading that will surely will help many in loving god without any will but only as his lover! 🙂

      Thanks again!

  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!

    1. 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!!! 🙂

    1. 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?!

    1. 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. 

    1. 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.

    1. 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!

    1. 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

    1. 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!

    1. 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!!!

    1. 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

  16. I was shocked to read the Lord delight in me? Tell me more what scriptures?
    All I know from the scriptures is we are to delight in him ?

    1. 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!

  17. 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

  18. Yes this is a great post. Very easy to understand. Love the 4 initial steps may God help me to follow them and find more of him.

  19. 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?

  20. 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!

    1. 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. 🙂

  21. 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.

    1. 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.

  22. 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

    1. 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!

  23. 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.

    1. Alan, I tried it and “heart all in with Jesus” doesn’t bring up my page but a lot of catholic articles. “Heart all in with God” brings up my sight on page two. I used Google. Anyways, glad your heart is hungry and I’m glad the post provided some solid direction. Thanks for sharing here on the blog!

  24. my love for God has grown cold for months. The things of God never excites me again.I have been pursuing my own agenda. I live in fear cos I know and feel am miles away from God. I have tried several times to return to my first love(GOD) but failed. After reading your message I said to my self that this is what I hv been looking for to get back on track. my prayer is God please help me to treasure u most with all my heart soul n mind. Am so happy after reading this. God bless you so much Greg.

    1. Thanks, Kwabena. I’m so glad this article has benefited you! I pray that you continue to grow in the Lord and He becomes your treasure. Always remember, you are God’s favorite!

  25. Is it possible to get baptized and holy spirit filled and never Jesus your treasure? I think I have turned full blast yrs ago in the opposite direction and SUFFERING. Sincerely, I need Jesus to be my treasure as I am not happy, satisfied or content and have not been for yrs. I don’t care if it will be a fight. I need help. Pray? Fast? meditate? Read the word, praise? I need to breakout and past on asap. My soul feel fragmented and weighed down. I am afraid I have played myself. I am single female and 39 when will I grow. I know if I make Jesus my treasure I will be content throughout life up and downs. Help!

    1. Hi Trisha. I totally get what you are saying. I think what has helped me is for me to stop working so hard on the relationship and just enjoying being in one. Let me briefly explain. Treasure is about affection and affection comes from time spent with someone. This time spent is not about listing all our shortcomings but it’s time spent with a friend or partner. We can be so preoccupied trying to make a relationship “better”, “stronger” instead of simply coming into the relationship with no agenda but to learn how to spend time with someone. I think once you discover this you take the pressure off yourself and create space for your affections to grow as you simply enjoy the Lord. Hope this helps.

  26. Wow! I’ve never had this topic really made practical…at least not that I remember. Thank you and may God continue to give you the strength, grace and passion to continue with His message.

    1. Hi Randy. Good question. I believe Jesus lived the normal Christian life. He emptied himself and relied on the Holy Spirit. His affections for the Father is something we can look up to and make it our goal as well. Will we ever attain what Jesus did in this area, maybe not, but it’s worth trying.

  27. I cannot say enough how the reminder of this aimple truth has refocused my heart today. Thanks for your faithfulness.

  28. Hi Greg

    While I was browsing about this topic in the internet, i bumped at this one. Its so amazing and i am very much thrilled and follow this.. This message was a great blessing and was enlightening..
    Thank you brother
    In christ
    Alex

  29. Just like Greg I too was researching the subject and came across your article. Through prayer and much wrestling God has graciously revealed to me how I am NOT loving him. Your article reaffirm’s that knowledge and offers insight and sound bible advice for those of us who seek change.

    God bless and thank you.

  30. Hi, I feel so much love for God that I imagine how great his child I could be…yet I fail to create time for him. There times I feel like praying is the least on my schedules.. I love him and believe that to him all comparisons stand pale. I need more of your inspiring articles.

    1. Hi Njapal. Glad the article inspired you. I personally find that what I put in my calendar get’s done. I would encourage you to drop your time with God in your calendar and keep that appointment.

  31. I want to follow the greatest commandments to love the lord my God with all my heart, mind , soul and strength. but I am struggling.searching in the Google to learn how to apply in my life.Thank to get this article.I need to go with you and teach me to grow.

  32. Hey thank you so much. I have been trying to study how to keep the greatest commandment and your blog has helped me. Please continue doing God’s work and may Jesus bless you & keep you safe.

  33. I try to love Jesus with all my heart.But I just dont know how to do it.I know his love is unconditional.But I get confused.Please show me how to love him.

    1. Hi, Trinidadand. The best way to love God is to spend time with Him. There is no need to fight for His love or approval because His love for you is unending and NEVER changes; it is forever constant. 🙂

  34. Pastor, thank you so much for this teaching! I was looking for something that went really deep on this verse.

    1. Hi, Adebayo. The answer is simple; the process is more difficult. If something is causing a breakdown in your relationship with the Lord, you need to rid that out of your life. In this case, it’s the above-mentioned problem you’re having.

  35. You do the usual thing -talk about ‘God’ and then flip to the man, Jesus.
    The truth is no one can love God since the concept is non-human, non-dimensional, outside of time/space. It is not a Being but something totally beyond human thought & comprehension. It is outside the Universe even the Galaxies. It does not obey the laws of physics. I can love a person (easy) an animal, a place, a tree! even an emotion. But how can I love a non-material non-object which we can only describe in terms of negativity e.g God is not…?
    To say “God loves you, God punished you, etc” does not make sense. These are human, emotion-based qualities. All you can say is: God is.
    I believe this is as far as the Buddhists take theology. Our language is anthropomorhpic and all our descriptions are human-based.

    1. Hi, Kevin. Interesting thoughts. It appears that your theology dismisses the “person” of God and in turn treats Him as “it”, something non-personal. Though we would both agree on the vastness of God, I would hold that He is also extremely personal. Thanks for sharing.

  36. Dear Pastor , An article written 6 yrs back helping people even today shows how you ministry is guided by the Holy Spirit. God bless your work.

  37. Hi Greg,

    Thank you for sharing I believe what you’ve written as I once used to experience this. I fell away from the lord a decade & a half ago. I have struggled to find my way back since that time. My problem is self. I am struggling to let go of myself. I keep trying to restart with the Lord & feel I get stuck. Fear of surrendering all again. I hate this place. I wish I could just surrender my all & find the rest I need, every time I get close to it. Fears floods my whole being again & im feeling very tired! I just so fed up, yet I struggle on with double mindedness!! I hate where I am & just wish I could have the love of Christ flood my heart & life again. Sorry to be so negative !!

    1. Ann, when I was reading this a picture came to my mind. You know, once a prisoner is free, the time has been served, the authorities make the decision to free you. They head to the cell, open it, do some exit things and your free. It’s illegal for you to go back into that cell since your a free person. Live knowing that Jesus paid the debt and you no longer need to, nor are allowed to, go back into that cell. I encourage you to stand on the truth that you are free and find joy in this reality. There is no need to be continually double-minded. There is no need to fear because perfect love casts out all fear. Let the love of Christ continue to flood your heart over and over again.

      1. Thank you for the words of encouragement. Some many people have given me examples like this in the past. It sounds so easy but every time I keep making the effort to spend time & get back on track with the Lord. Something happens that drags me right back to the prison chains. I’ll try to read consistently & think upon scriptures but by the time the morning comes my old minds back in play & this is the constant tug of war I find myself in! I’m tired!! I will continue to keep on trying in the hope one day, I’ll get my break through (if Christ hasn’t returned by then).

        1. Ann, I sense that you are working real hard. I would try to find some rest and enjoyment as you approach the Lord and His Word. This might sound strange, but try and lower the expectation and focus more that you are in His presence. Rest. See if this begins to turn your discipline into delight to were you begin to receive His Word more deeply. 🙂

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