Monday, August 25, 2014

How Do I Love Him?

If I can’t smell Him, see Him, touch Him, taste Him, or hear Him . . . how do I love God?

My earliest memory from my childhood was when I was a baby. I recall my dad hovering over me with a camera, and every so often a huge bright light would go off, blinding me. I remember looking around, trying to see through the dark shadows clouding my vision. When my eyes finally adjusted, I could see my mom not far away busying herself in the kitchen. I was on a table in a little baby “chair” and a bar separated the small kitchen from the table.

At the time, I couldn’t put my thoughts into words, but I knew I was up high by looking at that “bar.” I can remember thinking/feeling that I was glad I could trust my parents not to let me fall.

There are several other memories I have before the one I’m about to share, but I won’t share them all. By the time I was two or three, I remember walking through the mall with my parents, and out of the blue my dad said, “Sandi, lie down and go to sleep.”

I stopped walking and immediately dropped on the cold, hard floor of the mall, right in the middle of the plaza.

Several people who were walking by stopped and “Ooohhhed” and “Aaawwwed.” I didn’t see them because I was busy trying to “go to sleep,” but I could hear them and my dad having unintelligible conversations. While I just lay there, I wondered why my dad told me to do this in such an odd place. This wasn’t my bed. Why would he make me lie down on the ground right in front of everyone?

Later, I discovered it was my dad showing off how obedient I was to his commands, and “Oooh, it was soooo cuuuuute!” He scoffs at the thought that today I feel like it was a form of abuse, but . . . oh well. You see, I was terrified of my dad. If I didn't do what he said, I'd get whipped with all his might (he even admitted to that with a shudder of shame when he saw my firstborn around the same age as I was then). I wasn’t perfectly obedient by any means. I remember the first time I learned the meaning of “no.” My finger hurt so badly from the sting of my dad’s flick, I thought it might fall off.

My dad was a strict disciplinarian. I didn’t dare disobey him. In numerous cases, his discipline was a horrible experience, but now—and I can’t believe I’m going to say this—I’m grateful for his strict ways.

Yes, I said it. My dad was abusive, or could be, but I AM GRATEFUL for the DISCIPLINE. Note: I said "discipline" not the "abuse." There's a difference.

I’m grateful because it taught me the importance of OBEYING GOD, my heavenly Father and Creator.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Would you ever be willing to sacrifice your child for someone? I certainly wouldn’t! Not even for someone who was without sin! NEVER! EVER! And yet . . .

That’s what God did for us. While we were still in SIN, no less!

Now I want to know what I can do in return? How can I love God back? It’s not like I can kiss Him or give Him a hug, or . . . you get the picture. How about singing Him a love song? Or praising Him with my words?


Well, Jesus answers that question quite thoroughly, so thoroughly in fact, I think it’s pretty important that we listen and obey!

Jesus starts in John 14:15 by saying, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” Then in verse 21 He says, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me.” Not far after that one in verses 23-24 He says, “. . . if anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” As if that wasn’t enough, He repeats, “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.”

I’ll wrap these verses up with 1 John 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.”

In the end, it looks like obedience to our Heavenly Father is pretty important . . . IF we love Him.

Could this be why so many are coming against Christians? Because they don’t want to “obey?”

1 John 3:11-13 “For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous. Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you.”

Finally, a few last notes on obedience, which comes shortly after John 3:16. I’ll let God do the talking:

John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life, but he who does not OBEY the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (emphasis is mine).

We could also have the rebellious attitude that the Jews had in Jeremiah 44:16 where they said, “As for the message that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we are NOT going to listen to you!” (emphasis mine).

God is our ultimate Father, and what's even more wonderful, He doesn't make mistakes. Obedience requires trust, because so often we think our way is better. How can the Almighty, Creator and Maker of this universe be wrong? He doesn't give us "rules" to make our lives miserable or to show off His authority. He gives us "rules" (commandments) to obey for our own GOOD. It's all because He LOVES us, and . . .  He's not going to let us fall. We need to become like children and trust in Him.

Matthew 18:1-4 
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

I want to love God. How about you?


  1. Beautiful thoughts, Sandi, and so true! I was musing on my blog lately about we're bondservants to the Lord--which means we willingly choose to serve him, to give up our wills to His. It means that obeying isn't something we HAVE to do, from obligation, but something we CHOOSE to do from love. And because He loves us, He then raises us from bondservant to heir--how amazing is that??

    1. Yes, it's so AMAZING! To be children of God. Wow! There's no greater honor. Exactly! CHOICE is what God wants, and it's usually coupled with TRUST. I think sometimes we get so overwhelmed with fear that things aren't going to go the way we want, that we forget to trust that God will work it all out for good for those that LOVE Him. And I think we all know what loving Him is, LOL! It's all intertwined.