How Can I Really Love God?
God Wants you in heaven
What gruesome sight! And this is love. Do we really understand what love is? God showed us what love is but the evil one has confused us as to what that really is. Yet, God told us “I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15). Therefore, Jesus is the perfect example of love.
“The way we came to understand love was that he laid down his life for us; we too must lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16).
Before we can love God correctly…the way He loves us, it will be most helpful for us to understand the different kinds of love. There are many different kinds and degrees of love: true love, sensual love, paternal love, material love and false love to name a few. We can see love in its different kinds in many different aspects of our life.
Do we know what it is to lay down our life? Do we really know what that means? Most will say that means to die for someone…well it can mean that but that really isn’t what John is speaking about. Yes, Jesus did give literally His life for us, but He did it much more than dye for us…He gave His EVERYTHING–every thought, word and deed–to seek the salvation of our souls by perfectly obeying His Father. That is what “laying down one’s life” really is. Surrendering our wants and desires to serve God by giving our everything–our every thought, word and deed–to seek the salvation of souls just like Jesus did for us.
God gave us our lives to love Him. That is our entire purpose for our existence: to love and be loved by God for an eternity in Heaven. How did Jesus teach us how to love the Father, but by giving His entire life to serve God. However, since the world is so inviting, we have fallen out of love with God and in love with the world and ourselves. Our hearts don’t burn for God, desire to loose our will, serve Him and embrace the cross, but we are distracted with bounds of worldly desires and pleasures that come about pulling us away from God and the perfect love He has waiting for those who truly love Him–who are willing to love like He has loved.
Until we receive much of God’s grace and begin to be filled with His truth (knowledge of the Way to Eternal Life), we won’t even realize how little we actually love like Christ loved us. We won’t know what it is or how to do it ourselves nor be able to guide others to do it correctly either. We will think we know, but the devil actually cons us into guiding others right into self-love not true love of God.
Sadly, we will see someone giving and helping another but when they grow weary in their charity–because they aren’t receiving God’s peace from their works since they aren’t loving–doing good–for the right reasons. Sadly, we, from our misguided love, mistakenly guide them away from the truth and deeper into darkness. To console them, we will find ourselves saying, “oh, you have given so much of your life to others, now is the time to take care of yourself.” We have let the evil one darken us away from understanding the entire purpose of our life…which is to love like Christ has loved…not to live a comfy self serving life, but to love. But since we don’t know what love is, we think we are only supposed to give a certain amount of our life to loving and serving others and then the rest to ourselves. But Christ certainly didn’t do that.
We think, “If I don’t take care of myself, nobody will.” I promise you, if we “seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you” (Matthew 6:33). Truly, any need we have God will provide the time and ability for us to attend to it when we give our life to serving others, and if God doesn’t provide it, it isn’t what we need. It is only what we think we need. We need to learn how to let go of our will–what we think we need–and trust in God by embracing God’s will–what He allows to happen. That is truly good and the way to Life.
Sadly, many of the times we or others perform some work of charity out of some sense of obligation or because we like how it feels to help others, not to serve God and love Him through loving our neighbor. Since our driving intentions for what we do isn’t true, we miss receiving the joy that never fades, that lasts and lasts, even when we are taken advantage of and suffer from our giving, etc. because we are giving for the wrong reasons.
We will even tell ourselves we are helping someone out of love of God, but if we look we will see how we prove we are living deceived. The proof we aren’t truly serving out of love for God is when our selfish attitude of complaining comes in. When we have to help someone when we don’t want to (inconvenient), or what we are doing goes greatly wrong (problems), or when our work becomes hard or not fun any more, then we complain and just want to stop. We don’t want to pick up the cross God gives us but want to complain it away and look for every excuse to stop. Perhaps, we will begin to feel tired of helping because we feel we have done more than our fair share and have worked far too long or more than others. Yes, we prove very easily how we aren’t truly loving God in our works, when the works we are doing begins to change our attitude from joy in helping another into bitter sour complaints as we seek to run from our cross (problems and challenges). That is the proof we weren’t truly helping for the right reasons. Proof is always clearly before us if we want to see.
When we are loving how Christ loves, our joy increases in the cross. Sure we try to avoid problems and do the best we can at everything, but when God allows the cross, we “rejoice in our suffering” ( ), calling upon God to teach us His blessed ways as we trust in Him knowing everything is perfect according to His will and wonderful good will come out of all. When someone doesn’t appreciate our efforts, or someone we are helping becomes a thorn in our side causing us many problems, those who are truly loving how Christ loves, let go of our will and become more happy when our works are riddled with problems. This is the truth. Sure we want our work done and want to be loved, but if that isn’t God’s will, we want God’s will more than ours and relent our will for the cross because we know that is the way to Christ’s Sacred Side. We don’t wish to reject the cross, complain about the problems and seek to find someone else to do the work so we can rest. We happily pick up our cross, and do the best we can, never complaining about the outcome, knowing the magnitude of grace the cross sends, focusing on living for God’s will and how we can love…not being concerned about our challenges but how we can truly love how Christ loved, with all joy in the cross. Those serving for true reasons of love, LOVE the CROSS.
Sadly, most seek to run from the cross and only do what we like. Many avoid conflict at all costs. If there is a problem, people will do all they can to avoid speaking with someone to avoid confrontation. Clearly, the real reason behind our works, for most of us…is to do something we like, have success, or for some personal benefit, even though we will tell ourselves it is for another. Sure some of what we do might be with the partial intention to benefit another–to love God–but if our driving force–the main reason–was truly to love God, we would most certainly embrace the cross since carrying the cross is the way we love God. The devil just tricks us into not knowing what love really is and taints our good works with much self-love. But love is carrying the cross.
We reject the cross much of the time by habit since we don’t know what love is and desire pleasure instead. Then after the weight of the cross dissipates, we feel happy to serve again and will do it. Or we will only carry a cross so big, and will reject it after we feel we have bore enough. Or we will only carry crosses of those who are grateful for our service–who can still satisfy our desire for praise in our works. Truly, that isn’t what Jesus did and isn’t what we are called to do either. Christ loved and joyfully carried His crosses for everyone one. We will do anything for our best friend, but how about the rude ungrateful neighbor? Most will only talk badly about them and never serve them like we do our loving family. Jesus even when He didn’t want to bear the burden as He said, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me” still sought not His will, but His Father’s will saying, “still, not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). He showed us how to love and pray and accept what God allows as wonderfully good. Truly, Christ, who wanting to be loved and cared for, saw God the Father’s will and happily served and picked up His cross for the salvation of souls—all souls, even the most unkind ungrateful people. He gave us the perfect example; we need to emulate Jesus too. Sadly, from our lack of contemplating on Christ’s life and passion, most don’t know how to love like Christ loved, nor understand our need to “do as I have done” (John 13:15). So many times we are Christians by word alone, since the devil has deceived us to what true love–the real faith–really is.
Love One Another
Obey the Father’s Will
When we have a saving faith, “the soul desires to praise our Lord God and longs to sacrifice itself and die a thousand deaths for Him. It feels an unconquerable desire for great crosses and would like to perform the most severe penances; it sighs for solitude and would have all men know God, while it is bitterly grieved at seeing them offend Him ” (St. Theresa of Avila). This is the faith we must long for…the love we need for God. If we don’t have God in this life, we won’t have Him in the next.
more coming soon