Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to: “…love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)
Here are some practical ways to grow in loving the Lord:
~Make Him and loving Him your #1 priority and focus – in every area of life! Start your day with Him and keep Him as most important in all details of your day. Something that has really helped me is the moment that I wake up (or am coming into consciousness) to turn my heart to the Lord and tell Him good morning and that I love Him. Then I roll out of bed and land on my knees. It starts your day out right and sets a good patter for the rest of the day!
~Daily spend time with Him. Remember that your walk with the Lord is a relationship! It takes time and energy to deepen a relationship. Your personal time with the Lord is a critical key to growing in your relationship with the Lord. Remember that He is real and is right there with you when you are having your personal time with Him! If you have not been faithful in your personal time with the Lord, you can start today! The Lord is waiting for you with open arms.
~Read the Bible daily. It is your spiritual food and without it your spiritual life will begin to starve! Through the Bible you come to know the Lord better and know how He wants you to live. It is the Lord’s letter to you. Read it carefully, He has lots to show you! It has the answer to every question and is the final authority for our lives.
~Prayer is so important. It is so vital that your talk with someone that you want to get to know better! Share your heart with the Lord, praise Him for Who He is, confess and ask forgiveness for anything that He show you in your life that is not pleasing to Him, ask for His help to obey, and listen to what He wants to say to you. Seek to really come into His presence with your heart prepared to meet with Him.
~Walk with Him throughout the day. Remember that the Lord is always with you and that walking with Him does not just end when you leave your quiet time! Walk through your days with the Lord. You can always talk with Him.
~Carefully choose things that will help you in your walk with the Lord and not pull you down. What you watch, listen to, enjoy, etc. will make up who you are and directly impact your relationship with the Lord. Don’t take your choices lightly! What I always like to ask myself about things I am considering watching, reading, listening to, enjoying, etc. is, “Will this draw me closer to the Lord or distract/pull me away from Him?” If it does not seem definitely one way or the other, it usually means that is would be a good idea to pass on it. (Those things only waste time and really can be a distraction from what is good.) It is good to hold things up to the light of God’s Word and see if they match up with what He says is right. (For example, try Phil. 4:8-9.) We really should just fill our lives with what the Lord says is right.
~Time. You can use your time in ways that will either encourage you in the Lord, waste your time, or do damage. Your time is so valuable and the way that you use it shapes your life. Spend it on the Lord, what He says is right, and what will last for eternity.
~Friends. The friends that you have will drastically impact who you are and become. Choose them so carefully! Allow the Lord to be your best friend and choose friends who will encourage you in the Lord (instead of encouraging you towards TV, excessive outward focus, wrong attitudes, boys, etc.).
~ Church. Become involved in a church where Jesus is glorified and the Word of God is preached. This can be powerfully used by the Lord to grow us in knowing, loving, and becoming like Jesus.
~Fellowship. It is so important that we spend time with people who are seeking for the Lord and will help us on in our walk with the Lord! If you do not have regular contact with other like-minded girls, you might want to think about starting a Bible study.* This can give you encouragement in seeking the Lord as you have fellowship with other girls who are desiring to follow Him.
~Ministry. It is so important that once you find true satisfaction in the Lord, you pass it on to others. There are so many opportunities to share the Lord and serve Him! Some things that you can do include: Serve at home, encourage siblings, younger children, friends, etc. in the Lord (share about what the Lord has been doing in your heart, memorize Bible verses together, study the Bible together, etc.), help out at church, and start a discipleship group/Bible study for younger girls. (For free study material, you can visit www.lovingthelordministries.org)
~Get a vision from the Lord for your life! When your focus is on Him alone, you will not have other things clouding your vision to see clearly what the Lord has for you. Don’t waste your life with a clouded vision. God has great things in store for you! If you will seek Him and live to love Him with all of your heart, He will give you a vision for your life that is beyond your wildest dreams right now.
~Allow Him to work in your life and make Himself real to you. Never stop the Lord from working in you! It may not always be the most comfortable, but it is always for your best! Seek to know the Lord in deeper ways each day through your personal time with Him, reading your Bible and other books that will help you grow in the Lord, etc.).
~Accountability. I would so strongly encourage you to find someone to hold you accountable for seeking and loving the Lord! It will help you stay on track more than you could ever imagine!
The more that you come to know the Lord, the more you will see how wonderful He is. As a result, you will more naturally tend to love Him. Remember that loving the Lord and knowing Him is the greatest thing in the world and the only place that you will find true fulfillment! He loves you so incredibly much! Seek to love Him with all of your heart –You will never regret it!
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” ~ Philippians 1:6