At one time or another most grateful Christians have probably thought, “how could I ever repay my God for the gift of His only begotten Son?” How could I ever repay Jesus for suffering and dying on the cross in my place and for my sin? Certainly, we understand the answer to that question is nothing could ever repay that amazing gift, it’s just too great! There is nothing we could ever do to pay God back or to deserve His goodness and grace. But there is something He wants more than anything else from us. He wants us to love Him. In fact, we see in Matthew 22:37 in the response of our Lord to the lawyer who asked Him, what the greatest commandment in the law was, Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

We are probably very quick to say we love God, but do we love Him as Jesus described to that lawyer? Do the way we use our time, the things we value, and the things we are passionate about, show our God that we truly love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind? We can try to do a lot of things in this world, and we can even do a lot of things for God, but ultimately what He really wants is our love and devotion. In the New Testament, Jesus said loving God is the greatest command, and in the Old Testament, God through His prophet Hosea says, “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6) Evidently, children of God in the days of Hosea, could offer sacrifice and burnt offerings and still not be pleasing to God. What God really wanted from His chosen people was their steadfast love and for them to know Him. You and I today can offer our lives for great works even within the church and still not be pleasing to God. Our God hasn’t changed since the time of Hosea, He still wants from us, not just works or lip service, but He wants our steadfast love and for us to know Him!

We live in a world filled with many distractions and many things that we can grow to love instead of God. A love for this world or the things in the world can also prevent a person from ever developing a love for God in the first place. Jesus taught in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” With God, we are either all in or all out. We either choose to love God, or we choose to love the world.

Jesus made it clear that one of the ways we are to love God, is with all our mind. To do that we must have our mind and our thoughts focused on God and things that have to do with Him and His kingdom. Our thoughts need to be focused on things that are eternal. In Colossians 3:1-2 the apostle Paul writes, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” The more we seek God and think about Him, the more our love and admiration for Him will grow. As we carefully think about His glory and majesty, we can’t help but have a strong desire to grow in our knowledge of God and to grow in our love for Him!

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all thLove foe earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. (Psalm 8:1) The very name of the LORD our God is majestic! Everything about Him is great and glorious and perfect! His greatness and glory, as well as His righteousness, demands our faithfulness, our obedience, and our joyful service to Him. But our faith, obedience, and service should be rooted in our genuine love for our amazing God.

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:25-26)

As we continue to grow in our love and knowledge of the God of Heaven may there never be anything on earth that we desire besides Him! To God Be the Glory! Excel Still More

Billy Clabaugh
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Billy, his wife Shayla, and their son Caleb live in Sayre, Oklahoma where he has been blessed to preach since 2012. He has a bachelor’s degree in Math Education from Oklahoma Christian University and a master’s degree in Sports Administration from Eastern New Mexico University. He enjoys reading, watching the Oklahoma Sooners, spending time with his family, and serving in the Kingdom of God.  Billy also serves on the board of directors for Excel Still More and is a regular speaker and writer for the workshop and other publications.