If you are new to this blog, Welcome. You may want to start reading the series of articles at the beginning, or pick an article from the Table of Contents.
If you haven’t yet read my articles titled Who (or What) is God? – Part I, Who (or What) is God? – Part II and The Secret to Happiness, I suggest you go back and read them now, as they give you background to understand this one better.
There’s more to loving God than going to church, singing hymns and prayer. If you go to church on Sunday, and do all the things there that the righteous do, but you do not live as God wants during the rest of the week, you are not showing true love of God. I will list some of the important ways you can put your love of God into practice in your everyday life. In this list, I will include Bible quotations that show that these are behaviors that God desires of us.
(In a future article, I will discuss some of the findings I have read by true Bible scholars about the validity of the Bible. They are definitely not what the popular culture and the media have been telling you lately.)
Here’s my list:
Love your neighbor
One of my favorite Bluegrass songs is built around the line “If you don’t love your neighbor, then you don’t love God.” This is a tremendous message. It is based on the second of Jesus’ Great Commandments (Mathew 22:36-40). Your neighbor here means more than the folks in the house next to yours. In this context, your neighbor is anybody that you share your world with. In Luke, this concept is expressed as “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31 NIV). The song is very true. Loving our neighbors is one of the most important ways we can practice our love of God.
Be honest and truthful
Be honest and truthful in everything you do. There are many places in the Bible where it is said that God loves truth. There are other bible references that indicate that God hates lies and liars. You can explore some of these with Google or other search tools.
We all run into situations where it seems best to either omit some of the truth (as you see it) or to tell a “white lie,” especially where the full truth might hurt others. Let your conscience (which is influenced by the Holy Spirit) be your guide on this. If you use the “white lie” too loosely, you will weave a tangled web.
The old saying, “Honesty is the best policy” holds true for nearly all situations.
Pay your bills
“Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:7-8 ESV) This one is actually a combination of the first two that I listed. After all, if you love your neighbor, you will pay him what you owe him. If you promised your neighbor you would pay him for something he sold to you, it would be dishonest not to pay him.
Give to those less fortunate
There are many places in the Bible that talk about giving. I like the way this one puts it: “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV)
There are places in the Bible that touch upon ethnic differences and racism. They are hard to recognize because the ethnic groups dealt with, and the terms for them, are different than we are used to. However, in my reading, the following quote was pointed out, in which Paul makes a fairly clear statement: “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” (Colossians 3:11) This points out that God expects we should treat everybody the same.
Support your Family
In today’s society, too many fathers, and some mothers, abandon their spouse and children. If you are fortunate enough to become a parent, your family should be your first priority. Here is a verse that emphasizes that duty: “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8 ESV)
Respect God’s Instructions
In addition to the items mentioned above, there are other matters in which God has instructed us how to behave. The Ten Commandments come to mind.
The above list is not complete. Can you think of other ways that someone’s behavior shows that he (or she) loves God and respects His instructions to us? If you report a good one to me in the Reply box or in an e-mail (using the Contact button at the top of this article), I might add your suggestion to the list.
May God give you strength and courage to live according to His principles, even when it is neither popular nor politically correct.
Here’s a link to another video of Rhonda Vincent and friends performing “If You Don’t Love Your Neighbor, Then You Don’t Love God”: