The First and Great Commandment – Loving God with All Our Heart

What is God looking for?

God has everything! Yet, He is searching for something. What could God, who has everything, possibly want? One of the most important questions you and I can ask is, “What is God looking for?” When we discover what He wants, we then realise what we are looking for and understand life (John 4:23).

Jesus tells us what God is looking for – LOVE. He is looking for reciprocal love. He is looking for love responses from our heart. He is after our heart (not our talent or money, etc.). He desires voluntary wholehearted love from us. This love is fueled by the spirit of abandonment to God. He wants us to give our lives to Him. God created us for a specific purpose and designed us with longings to fulfill that purpose. (2 Chron. 16:9)

God desires that we love Him with all our heart and strength because He loves us that way. We can know the “why” behind the “what”. His glory is always the first reason for His actions in creation and redemption. However, YOU are also a significant reason. You are part of the “why” behind the “what”. He pours His love on us and receives it back from us. He does it all for love.

Our highest calling is to move God’s heart with our love. Our highest purpose is to love God. This comes ahead of seeking to make an impact or to be successful from man’s point of view. Many want to build a big ministry for God. But He wants our love first. It is the currency of heaven. My spiritual identity is that, “I’m loved by God and I am a lover of God and therefore I am successful”. This is who we are to God, for we are not defined by our accomplishments.

The Church of Ephesus was a great revival center in the early Church (Acts 19-20). Yet, they did not sustain the freshness in their love for Jesus. They became workers for God more than lovers of God. Lovers will always out work the workers. When we work without intimacy we work as a slave. A heart of a bride is refreshed as she labors. Service without the foundation of devotion leads to burn out, disappointment, and wounding. Thus, the service is not sustained over decades (Rev. 2:1-5).

The First and the Great Commandment (Matt. 22:37 – 38)

The Holy Spirit is restoring the first commandment to first place in the Church worldwide. First Commandment: loving God is the first priority to God. Jesus did not call it the first option for it is a commandment. Jesus makes it clear that cultivating wholehearted love for God is the highest and greatest lifestyle. Loving God is a glorious end in itself, however, it never ends with loving God but always overflows with loving ourselves and others (believers and unbelievers).

Great Commandment: loving God is the greatest impact of anything that we do. It is the only way to enter our greatest destiny because it has the greatest reward. Loving God always has a great impact on God’s heart, our heart and others. It is a dynamic means to an end.

We need revelation of the supremacy of the first commandment. It is the standard of evaluation at the Judgment Seat of Christ. In a desire to stay up with popular ministry trends, some regularly change directions in their ministry. We must not get our ministry focus from the latest trend, but from God’s Word.

Our primary goal in God’s will is to grow in love. God measures life differently than man because He has all the money, wisdom, fame, influence and time. Our greatest reward is to know and feel His love, to love Him and then to overflow in love for others.

God loves us in the same way that God loves God

The foundational truth that equips us to love God is to know and feel His affection for us. God loves us in the way that God loves God (John 15:9; 17:23). The Father feels the same intensity of love for us as He feels for Jesus. The Father has delighted in Jesus from all eternity. Do you know the way you move God’s heart? We are His greatest prize and the apple of His eye! (Ps. 17:7 – 8). When we know the King loves us, we are unmoved even when others overlook or mistreat us.

The measure of the Father’s love and affection for His Son Jesus is the measure of His love for all His sons and daughters. This is the ultimate revelation of our worth. This truth gives us the right to stand before God with confidence as one of “His favorites”. Our confession is, “Jesus, You love me like the Father loves You”. This makes our life great and meaningful.

Defining Wholehearted love for Jesus (Mark 12:30)

Love with all our heart means to love God with all our affection and emotions. We “set” our affections on anything we chose. We change our mind and God changes our emotions. Our emotions will follow whatever we set ourselves to pursue. We can set our heart to be filled with zeal for God. Lord, take the reigns of my heart to direct it into the ocean of Your love. Ask yourself, “Why not me?”

Love with all our soul means that our personality and being. Our personality and being is expressed most dynamically by our speech. Therefore, we must determine to express your personality by speaking and acting in a way that enhances and not diminishes love.

Love with all our mind means that we fill our minds with long and loving meditation on God’s Word and resist putting anything in our minds that diminishes love for Jesus and quenches the Holy Spirit.

Love with all our strength means that we give our resources (time, money, talents, reputation, and influence) unto the LORD.

How to love God?

All of God’s commands bring with them the promise of His supernatural enabling to obey them. However, we must actively cultivate extravagant devotion to Jesus. This takes time and effort. Love does not automatically grow. It diminishes unless we intentionally cultivate a responsive heart. There are four important principles in cultivating our love for God.

1. Determination

We must make a determined decision to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Our love is expressed through our obedience. No one can give God all your love. Denying our lustful desires is the theatre God chose for us to express our love to Him. Each of us has a different struggle, thus, a different assignment from which we offer our gift of love to God (John 14:21).

People seeking extravagant love to Jesus ask, “What is the most that God will empower me to give to Him?” We are not content with the minimum requirement of salvation.

We must choose the good part as Mary did. No one can choose it for us (Luke 10:42).

David declared that he would love God. The intention of our heart is important to God (Ps. 18:1).

John leaned on Jesus’ heart or set his heart to love and be as near to Him as possible. John was saying, “I am one who leans on Jesus’ heart because I love Him”. (John 21:20b)

2. Revelation

Revelation of God’s love equips our heart to love Jesus. We love God with all our heart only as we see that He loves us with all His heart. He empowers us by revealing His love (1 John 4:19). We gain revelation of God’s love by mediating on it from God’s word. We position ourselves to receive from His heart by feeding on His Word.

We will sit long hours before God in His Word because we are hungry to understand the affections of His heart. We can behold or be attentive to how the Father feels about us by meditation on the Word. For Jesus gives His secrets to those who desire them enough to sit for hours before Him (Ps. 25:14).

3. Impartation

It takes God to love God. The Father will give us supernatural impartation to love Jesus. (John 17:26; Rom. 5:5; Eph. 3:18 – 19; Phil. 1:9)

4. Confession:

“Jesus, I am Your beloved, Your favorite one. I am a disciple You love. Your delight is in me. You feel about me as the Father feels about You. I belong to You and You are mine”. We confess, “I’m loved by God and I am a lover of God. Therefore I am successful”.

5. Fellowship

We receive much of God’s love in serving and sharing and in receiving it from others. God’s love is only seen in fullness when the whole Body functions together. Part of our inheritance and healing is in the hands of others who reveal and release God’s love to us. (1 John 1:7; Jas 5:16; Eph. 3:18 – 19)

Setting our heart to love Jesus

We must have a sustained vision to go deep in God. It takes focus and effort to go deep in God. Our soul prospers as we grow in the anointing to love. To walk in this requires that we must be focused on pursuing it more than gaining things and influence.

Satan’s first priority against the Church is to lead us astray from cultivating the ability to be responsive to God with wholehearted love and extravagant devotion. If Satan leads us astray from the purity of devotion to Jesus then our service and love for others will eventually fail (2 Cor 11:3).

Sustaining a fresh walk with God through decades is the definition of living radically before God. We are not radical because we do something unusual for a few weeks or months. David sustained his passion for God for decades that he referred to as “all” the days of his life (Ps. 27:4). Daniel sustained his prayer life with passion for decades – from about age 16 to 82 years old (Dan. 6:10).

What does it look like to love God with all our heart and mind?

God is Love that burns as an all consuming fire of jealousy. He wants to totally take over our life. He wants to consume us from the inside out by dominating our affections, thoughts and words. This is love that is not passive but passionate.

Love is loyalty to God’s Word. It stands up for truth. Do not allow any substitute for the real thing. We must not allow our experience to be reduced to just language about being extravagantly devoted.

What is going on behind our face? Each of us has a ‘universe in our inner thoughts’. This is where life really takes place. What are we day dreaming about? What do you wake up thinking about? The internal is more powerful than the external.

The End-Time Church will be anointed with a heart of spiritual violence (Mt. 11:12). With passion for God and spiritual violence we declare war on the inside. It is to burn from the inside out not just to dance in worship.

People in love are untouchable. True freedom is found in the yoke of Christ. People cannot really see the love that is growing in your heart. Eternal rewards will show forth the love you have now. The fire you have now on the inside will be worn openly in eternity.

We set our heart to live as extravagant lovers of God without getting trapped into bitterness because of those who mistreat us. We do not want to get caught up into making wealth and fame our primary goal in the Kingdom. We are in a race to win a prize of being a lover of Jesus. The more we seek to live for love the more broken we will be with true humility. You can be one of the greatest people in history simply by living in deep love for God which overflows in love for people. You will not be the most famous but can be one of the greatest.

The Lord values our journey to grow in love. The reach of our heart to love Him moves Him. If you do not quit then you win. We do not find our identity in our failure but in the fact that He loves us, in the gift of righteousness (2 Cor. 5:12) and in the cry of our spirit to love God.

Kay-Chong Yeo
Founder & Director
One Thing Ministries
International House of Prayer (Singapore)
20 August 2008