“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30 ESV).
Have you noticed that we tend to celebrate what we love most? We might throw a party, sing songs, give gifts and eat cake. We might even write poetry-filled love letters when romance moves us. We can’t help ourselves. We celebrate, we worship what we love most.
Did you know that God cares about what we celebrate? I think it’s because we worship what we truly love. And God cares about that. He cares about our worship.
In the book of Revelation, Jesus told the church at Ephesus that although they had demonstrated perseverance and hard work for God, they had forsaken their “first love.” It’s like Jesus was accusing them of letting all the romance go out of their relationship. It seems amazing, but God really wants us to love Him first. He loves us and He wants us to love Him back with priority.
So, how do we get the romance back? How do celebrate God’s Son as our “first love?”
In the book of Mark, certain religious leaders asked Jesus to give them the greatest commandment. In a sense he was asked to simplify all of the writings of Scripture down to one simple statement. Jesus didn’t hesitate. He gave them a simple command on how to make God their first love. We can hear and follow this same simple command to love God with priority by loving Him in four ways.
4 Ways to Celebrate Christ as Your First Love
1. Give God the first part of your week through passionate worship. Jesus tells us to love God “with all your heart.” The heart is a metaphor for the center of the self, which includes the will and emotion. One way that we can express our priority love for God with all our heart, is by willingly and passionately worshiping Him with the first part of our week, along with other believers.
Worship is like romance and like romance, we sometimes get it wrong. Two ways we can get it wrong are:
- No passion. Our worship becomes a dry ritual. We just go through the motions.
- No priority. We only worship when we don’t have anything better to do.
God wants both our passionate and priority worship. He is looking for whole-hearted worship.
2. Give God the first conversation of your day in focused prayer. Jesus tells us to love God “with all your soul.” The soul is another metaphor for the self. Unlike the heart, which represents the will and emotions, the soul seems to represent the personal identity or internal conversation of the self. As a lover might say to another, “A penny for your thoughts,” the Lord desires us to express our love for Him by sharing our inner thoughts with Him in prayer.
3. Give God the first thought of your day through biblical meditation. Jesus tells us to love God “with all your mind.” The mind is the seat of our intellect, the place where we consider and think. Just as we think about those we love, God wants us to think about Him with priority. A way we might express loving God with our minds is to meditate and study His Word. When we study God’s Word, it helps “rewrite” our thinking. Studying God’s Word gives us both the mind and the language to love and worship God with priority.
4. Give God the first part of your substance through joyful offering. Jesus tells us to love God “with all your strength.” Strength represents our effort and indirectly the wages of our effort. When you love someone, you want to give of yourself to them. You want to share your time, talent and treasure with them. God asks that we love Him by offering ourselves fully to Him. We can express our priority love for God by giving Him the first part of our income and by giving Him the best part of our time and talent.
Are you celebrating God’s Son as your first love? Do you love Him with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength?
I wonder, what does Jesus think of our love for Him?