Scripture: John 21:16 and Matthew 22:37

First God

After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to Peter on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and asked him a seemingly simple question. “..do you love me?” (John 21:16). And Peter answered the way I would imagine most of us would answer. “Yes, Lord” (John 21:16). This conversation seems pretty straightforward and simple. But is loving Jesus really that simple? Is loving God as easy as we make it out to be?

Our small group just started a new book, Five Marks of a Methodist. The very first chapter begins to explore the greatest commandment that God gives us. “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart…” (Matthew 22:37). Again, this commandment seems pretty simple. I often feel like I can check the box on this one and move right along. But a closer look reveals my heart and my actions don’t always reflect that I love God.

God is love. He is the Author and Creator of love. The only reason we have the capacity to love is because He loved us first. God’s love, given to us through the Holy Spirit, is meant to spark a yearning within our hearts to love Him in response to the love He has first given us. So after reading this chapter and thinking over the above mentioned verses, I thought, “Do I really love God like I am supposed to love God?” This question has been a lot harder to answer because honestly, the truth hurts. The answer is no. Sure, I love God, but am I responding to the love He has shown me first. And am I responding to Him and others with the same type of love He has shown me? Again, the answer is no.

So where do I go from here? Well, thankfully God’s love is always with us so I get to respond again and again and again. I will always have the opportunity to respond to His love, and I just want to respond with everything I am and everything I have. I need to respond in every aspect of my life and respond every day and to everyone.

The book has a great quote from Eugene Peterson:

“First God. God is the subject of life. God is foundational for living. If we don’t have a sense of the primacy of God, we will never get it right, get life right, get our lives right. Not God at the margins; not God as an option; not God on the weekends. God at the center and circumference. God first and last; God, God, God.”

God’s love is so powerful and so supernatural that I can barely fathom it. And I must meditate on it so I can get a glimpse of how immense it really is. The awareness that God’s love brings me salvation and wholeness will help me live life abundantly and as a true disciple of Christ – who really loves God. His love came first and should be first in my life.

Prayer: Dear God, please help me feel and experience your Love. Help me understand that you love me in ways that are out of this world. Your love for me came first. You have initiated this relationship and I want to respond to You with the same love you have so graciously shown me. Help me truly love you with all my heart. Help my heart yearn to love you more – each and every day. Amen.

Nicole Grunsky