Ask a Pastor Column

Presenting biblical answers to tough questions

Q: What does it really mean to love God?

A: The first thing to know about love is the Bible sets God Himself as the ultimate example of what it means to love (I John 4:8). This is one reason why love is so difficult to define: to understand love we must understand God! The best I can do is share the biblical passages that describe what love is. From these we can glean the elements of real love and work towards a definition that lines up with Scripture.

       One clear element of love is that it involves self-sacrifice. John 3:16 and I John 3:16 tell us that the best example of love is Christ laying down his life for us. Christ, having everything and needing nothing, felt compassion for us and yielded His life simply because it was in our best interest. The Bible tells us genuine love necessitates sacrifice. If we truly love God, we will yield our lives as a sacrifice to Him just like Christ did for us (Romans 12:1; II Corinthians 5:14-15).

Closely related to this is the element of obedience. We do not often relate love and obedience in our culture but the Bible states multiple times that love for God produces joyful obedience (Nehemiah 1:5; John 14:15; 15:10; I John 5:3).

Another element of love is that it produces certain qualities and virtues, as seen in I Corinthians 13:3-8. If we live in the love of God, we become more patient, kind and considerate towards others.

So then, to love God means first to experience God’s love for us. It then means to respond to His love with love (I John 4:19), to respond Christ’s sacrifice with our sacrifice (II Corinthians 5:15), and finally to let God’s love lead us into a lifestyle of obedience toward Him and loving service towards others.

The questions and answers compiled over the last year are now available in hard-copy and digital format. To request a copy send an email to askapastor [email protected] or by mail to Formoso Church; P.O. Box 66; Formoso, Kan. 66942


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