[This is a lightly edited version of the discussion we had at one of our table talks, pondering over what it looks like to love God]

At DEC we have three loves:

  1. Love God
  2. Love One Another
  3. Love Dewsbury

The Bible stresses the importance and need of love and to love. Something beautifully expressed by Glen Scivener:

Love is an answer that changes everything. If it is true, it is the greatest of all truths – the Bible insists that we’ve come from love, we’re shaped by love. Love rules our lives, our world and our future’ 

The first love of DEC – the primary, all-encompassing love is this – Love God. The other loves flow from this main love.

We get this from the OT famously in Deuteronomy 6:4-5:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’

But also in the NT with Jesus saying ‘this is the first and greatest commandment.’ (Matt 22:27-38).

So if the love of God is the first and greatest commandment

Q1: What stops us from loving God?

There are good and bad things that can stop us loving God. Various answers include:


One of the remedies to help us with this is to spend time in God’s presence.

In fact, Psalm 105:4 states: ‘Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!’ (ESV)

We want to love his presence because to love God means being in a relationship with God and a loving relationship, a healthy loving relationship requires presence – requires the need to invest time and energy into the relationship. Being present with someone shows to a degree, your love for them.

How can we do that? In fact, the next question is this –

Q2: In what ways can we be present with God? How can we do more of this?

Here’s some answers:


Here’s how we see this through prayer in Psalm 116:1-2: ‘I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.’

And Psalm 19:7-10 reminds us of how amazing precious God’s Word is:

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb’.

Read Psalm 27…

Q3: What is so beautiful about God that makes David want to dwell with God all the days of his life?

Think about the answers in Psalm 27 but don’t limit your answers to Psalm 27…

A simple answer is because of who God is and what he has done! Dwell upon what all this means and spend time praising God!

God has a plan and loving God means loving his plan. Now he has plans and purposes beyond us that we don’t know – the secret things belong to the LORD (Deut 29:29) – but one plan we do know of is this – his commission for us to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’ (Matt 28:19).

There are lots of other things we could delve into that show our love for God (1 John 5:3 ‘this is love for God: to keep his commands.’) but if we’re to love God we should love his mission…and his great commission (which is also a commandment) –

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’

Matthew 28:18-20
Q4: What is important about God’s mission and why does it involve making disciples?

We want people to be saved, made disciples and know God, grow in Christ and go and make more disciples.

Knowing isn’t just intellectual knowledge – it’s a hunger and thirst for God. This is brought out strikingly by James K. Smith in his provocative book You Are What You Love:

What do you want? That’s the question. It is the first, last, and most fundamental question of Christian discipleship…Discipleship, we might say, is a way to curate your heart, to be attentive to and intentional about what you love. So discipleship is more a matter of hungering and thirsting than of knowing and believing. Jesus’s command to follow him is a command to align our lives and longings with his – to want what God wants, to desire what God desires, to hunger and thirst after God and crave a world where he is all in all – a vision encapsulated by the shorthand “the kingdom of God”

Q5: What are you longing for and desiring in 2024? How can we turn these longings and desires into a greater love for God?

Here’s 4Gs to help stir our longings and desires:

  1. Make much of God – consider his attributes and his character!
  2. Make much of his Glory – his beauty in creation and in the splendour of his being and in the wonder of who he is!
  3. Make much of his Gospel – where his glory is supremely revealed in Jesus and what he does for us!
  4. Make much of his Grace – salvation in the gospel is by grace alone!

And Augustus Toplady to help us ponder that fourth point: 

When the citadel of the human heart is taken by grace, the enemy’s colours are displaced; satan’s usurped authority is superseded; the standard of the cross is erected on the walls; and the spiritual rebel takes the vow of willing allegiance to Christ, his rightful sovereign” 

May we be so infected by God. By his glory. By his gospel. By his grace, that our love for God grows so that we enjoy and love his presence more and love the mission he has given us to do.

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