To Know Him is to Love Him
In the quiet of the morning, I opened my bible and flipped through its thin pages to the book of Philippians—the book of joy. My fingers slowly traced the apostle’s words looking for treasure. I read, over and over again, the first chapter of Paul’s love letter to the church at Philippi. It was inspired by his affection for God’s people and his enthusiasm to both magnify Jesus Christ and his reason for his imprisonment. They are one in the same. Paul calls himself a bondservant of Jesus, and he certainly is, both literally and spiritually.
His testimony is riveting and it brings to my mind a promise the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart a few weeks ago as I began my search for joy—
“Joy is found in a deeper understanding of God. Gain wisdom, know joy.”
Excitement rekindled in my heart as I began to uncover what God had for me in this beloved, though familiar book.
I couldn’t help but stop at verses 9 and 10. I must’ve read it a dozen times.
“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ” Philippians 1:9-10
And there it was. The key to joy—love God. As believers, we know this is the first and greatest command. And the second is just like it: love others as yourself.
To love God and love others is the high calling of the Christian. Paul makes this very clear as if Jesus Himself is speaking to the church at Philippi.
I can almost hear him saying, “Yes, I know you love God. That’s wonderful. And I know you love each other. Praise God! You even show your love for those far away. You’ve really got it. But, I want you to love more. Excel in agape.”
Love more. More? Now that’s a noble challenge. But what does that look like? And how can I make myself love Him and others more than I already do?
Without the insight of God’s Spirit we can only imagine what love is—what it looks like—and how it ought to feel. To know God and love like Him is absolutely impossible without a renewed mind.
Paul illustrates this very thing in the book of Titus:
“For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior. Titus 3:3-6
Then it all began to make sense. I sat there amazed by this simple, yet powerful insight: to love God and people requires God. And to love God and people more requires more of God.
Oh, how I relish in the deep truths of God. I think it's called joy.
by Dana Lange