February / March 2019 - Vol. 102
Christ with two disciples at Emmaus
“Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us.. and opened the Scriptures for us” – Luke 24:32 .

Deepening Our Love for God  
by Tom Caballes

"…that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:17-19 ESV

Being a Christian involves growing in maturity. Our ultimate goal is to reflect the character of Jesus in our lives – as if Jesus is living in us. Growing in maturity takes a lifetime. Maturing is a matter of changing our old ways of thinking and doing things to the ways of God little by little. At the center of those changes is our love for God.

As we mature and face different challenges in our lives, is our love for God increasing and deepening? Or are hardships and trials making our hearts calloused – resentful and bitter? How easy is it for us to give in to sin? How determined are we to seek and follow God’s will for our lives? How much do we reach out to those who do not know God?

Our love for God may start small, but as we get older, it should become more like a blazing fire – a fire that consumes our very being, rather than one like a dying ember that can barely make it to the end. Which one resembles your love for God – a raging and consuming fire or a slowly fading ember? 

So How Do We Grow in Deepening Our Love for God?   

  1.  In the Bible, the Ephesians were rebuked because they lost the fervor of their first love – see Revelations 2:4 to 5. They were corrected for not doing the same things they did at first. How about you – what where were the things you were willing to do when you first said yes to God that you are not willing to do now? In what ways have you compromised your life? How can you restore the fervor of your first love for God?
  2. Jesus challenged His disciples to “put out into the deep” [Luke 5:4]. Growing in spiritual maturity calls us to go where it would be inconvenient, hard, and risky at times. Are you willing to live an inconvenient life and go to the road that is less traveled? See Matthew 7:13 to 14. There is something wrong if your spiritual life is too cozy all the time – it might mean you stopped growing in your faith. Stop living a very comfortable life!
  3. Let your mind be held captive by the Word of God, so that your thinking, attitude in life, and your behaviour reflect the Word of God alive in you. See 2 Corinthians 10:5. Let God’s Word penetrate your values, habits, opinions, thoughts, deepest longings and desires, dreams and ambitions, and your time and energy.
  4. Welcome trials in your life as an opportunity for spiritual growth. Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4 ESV)
  5. We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19 ESV) The manner by which we love God is dependent on how we understand the love of God is for us – the depth, the height, and the width of God’s love. (Ephesians 3:19)
  6. Live a martyr’s life daily. Live as if you are dead and live the life that Jesus would have lived. Have the love and the compassion of Jesus for all the people around you. Think and act as Jesus would. See Galatians 2:20.
  7. Take risks in sharing the Gospel to your friends and neighbors. Many times we are too timid to grab golden opportunities to share the Good News with our friends. Share your love for God with others.
  8. Grow in holiness – there is no greater concrete fruit of loving God than by seeing a changed and holy life. Although we will always be a sinner until the day we die, little by little, we can grow in becoming more like Jesus. The fruit of a holy life means sinning less and less, loving God more day by day, until God calls us home. 
Other Scripture passages:
  1. . I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 ESV)
  2. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ… (2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV)
  3. Other Bible verses: 1 John 3:1; 1 John 3:18; 1 John 5: 3
For personal reflection or group sharing
  • In what ways have you lost the fervour of your first love for God and how can you restore it?
  • How rooted and founded is your life on God’s Word? 
Tom Caballes is the National Senior Administrator and a National Coordinator of the Lamb of God, a community of the Sword of the Spirit with 7 branches located throughout New Zealand. Tom also leads Kairos New Zealand, an outreach program for high school, university, and post-university aged people. 

Tom and his wife Mhel and their two daughters live in Wellington, New Zealand.

Top image: Did Not Our Hearts Burn Within Us? (Luke 24:32), painting by (c) Michael Malm 2006
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