How To Love God

Most believers know that Yeshua said to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. The issue in the believing community is that there is a lack of practical application of the tenet. Knowledge of HOW we are to love God is virtually absent in many. And those who attempt to understand how to do it arrive at the conclusion that they are to obey Him, but they seem to have a very limited understanding as to what obedience looks like. The old Baptist hymn instructed us to “trust and obey,” going on to say ‘there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.’ The problem is, having grown up a Baptist, we were not instructed practically in what obedience actually looks like. We were told, ‘don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t cuss, don’t dance.’ The ‘church covenant’ that hung on the wall carried the church’s only tenets of obedience. I now know why my parents laughed when the wind blew it off the wall it had hung on for probably fifty years.

When Yeshua said to LOVE GOD with all your heart, He was not creating a new command. He was quoting the Torah, what most people call the “Law of Moses”.

Here is how the encounter is given in the book of Mark, chapter 12:

28And one of the Sofrim [Scribes] came near and heard them debating, and he saw that He gave them a good answer. So he asked Him, “Which is the first mitzvah [commandment] of all?”  29Yeshua said to him, “The first of all the mitzvot [commandments] is, 

‘Shema, Yisra’el,  יהוה  Eloheinu,  יהוה  Ekhad! [Hear O Yisra’el,  יהוה  is our God,  יהוה  is One].  30And you must love  יהוה  your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your might;’ this is the first mitzvah.  31And the second is like unto it, ‘You must love your neighbor as your own nefesh [soul].’  There is no other mitzvah greater than these two.”  

Yeshua was citing a Torah command and affirming a longstanding Jewish CUSTOM that these two commands were the most critical. He was not stepping outside of Biblical Judaism, but affirming what they did have right. The problem was, however, that the Rabbis were already deviating from that truth; they were affirming their OWN commandments as most important, even over the commandments of God. They still do today.

Our believing community is not aware of how exactly to do love God. And what started me on this track this morning was that in my daily prayers, after praying the Shema, I continued in the second Shema, in Deuteronomy chapter 11. The prayer we say each day is Deuteronomy 6:4-9, and then the second Shema in Deuteronomy 11:13-21. This is what is written on the tiny scroll that goes on the Mezuzah, our doorposts in our houses, in response to the command of God to write the commands there. Verse 13 in chapter 11 is what ‘shined’ in my mind this morning:

“And it shall come to pass, if you shall hearken diligently unto My Mitzvot which I command you this day, to love  יהוה  your Elohim, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul…”

He is telling us HOW to love Him! “Hearken diligently unto MY commandments to love יהוה your God and to serve Him with all your heart and soul…”

THAT is HOW we love God!

Many of those of us who seem to some believers to be “Judaizers” or “Legalistic” are simply doing what the Bible says to do to love God. “Judaizers” do exist, even today, and they try to convert people to man’s Jewish religion, to the regulations of Rabbis. We try to bring people to their one and only Rabbi, to whom God has given all power and authority: Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of God.

And, Yeshua said it too, more than once:

“If you love me, keep my mitzvot.  And I will ask of Avi [My Father], and He will give you another comforter, to be with you forever, even Ru’akh HaEmet [The True Spirit]…” Yeshua, Jo 14:15-17

“He who has my mitzvot with him and obeys them is the one who loves me;” Yeshua, Jo 14:21

“If you keep my mitzvot, you will abide in my love, even as I have kept the mitzvot of Avi [My Father], and abide in His love.” Yeshua, Jo 15:10

And the apostles said the same. Here are just a few references:

“And hereby we know that we know Him, if we keep His mitzvot.  He who says “I know Him” and does not keep His mitzvot is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” 1 Jo 2:3-4 

“For this is the love of Elohim [God], that we keep His mitzvot; and His mitzvot are not difficult.” 1 Jo 5:3 

“And this is love, that we walk according to His mitzvot. This is HaMitzvah [The Greatest Commandment], that as you have heard from the beginning, you should follow it.” 2 Jo 1:6

It is disconcerting to think that one can be accused of ‘legalism’ for keeping the Sabbath on the seventh day, by someone who keeps a ‘sunday sabbath’, which God never instructed us to keep. It is troublesome to think that someone would be aghast that a person would want to observe the same custom as Messiah Yeshua when He shared the cup of the Renewed Covenant at His last Passover Seder, which He is seen keeping more than once. It is unsettling to think that one would be angered that someone would want to remember the birth of Messiah by celebrating “The Season of Our Joy”, the Sukkot feast that God said is joy for all the nations, Yeshua Himself having been born in a Sukka in the fall. All the while those negative emotions to God’s instructions are burning inside, the person is honoring the rites of pagan gods that have merely a modest mention of Jesus in them, imposing on pagan ritual the notion that He would not only approve of attaching His Name and reputation to the worship of pagan deities, but be angry at someone who simply wants to love God by doing only what His WORD actually says to do.

For those of us who trust in the blood of Yeshua ALONE to save us, yet also choose to do His instructions, as He said, as His Son said, and as His Torah students and sent ones said, it is odd to hear such backlash from people who say they love God, and yet do not do what He said, but do what mankind has decided instead, even if it’s just because it has been done for 1,700 years.

Yes, we are audacious enough to say that most believers have followed mankind, and have been wrong in their observance. We walk a lonely life at times: at best, misunderstood by family and friends, at worst, hated and put out. The latter is probably more common.

We read the Bible. We apply it to our lives. Because we love Him, and His Son Yeshua, who saved us. It is simple. It is not merely a “Jewish” thing to do, just to appear to appease Jews. It just so happens that Yeshua is a Jew Himself, who kept the Word of God. And He kept the customs of the Torah; not later Jewish customs that violate Torah, but the ones that His Father gave Him to keep, so that He could be our Messiah, the Perfect One. And all the apostles, including Paul, taught those same customs to gentiles. [1 Cor 11:2, 2 Thess 2:15, 3:6]

God is the one who has to tell mankind what love is, and how to love Him. The Ten Commandments break it down a little further, with the first five commands telling us more detail of how to love Him, including keeping His Sabbath on the seventh Day, Shabbat, and the last five telling us how better to love our fellow man. The rest of the 603 commandments are the same, they either help us love God, or love man. There are many that we obviously cannot and do not keep: Temple sacrifices, priestly duties, etc. Yeshua did not even do those, as He was not a priest. [Heb 9:4-13] But we are certainly able to do those that still apply, and we should. All of them.

This is how we love God.

Published by danielperek

See my about page! I'm a Messianic Jewish writer, and teacher of the Torah as Messiah Yeshua taught it. I'm a husband, father, and grandfather. A musician, singer, and composer. Most importantly, a servant of the Messiah of Israel, Yeshua HaNatzri!

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