What is God’s greatest desire?



Question:  “What is God’s greatest desire for Himself and mankind?”



Bible Answer

There is no greater commandment from God than we are to love God and love others. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.  The second most important command is this: Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.  There is none other commandment greater than these (Mark 12:30-31).


The ultimate commandment is to love.  When we love God, we trust God, we trust God’s Word, and we want to obey all His commandments.  We love our neighbor (family, friends, co-workers, and strangers), we treat them with gentleness, kindness, patient, hope, support, trust, forgiveness, and we believe in them. In the same way, when we love ourselves, we are positive in our actions and hope, we believe in ourselves, and we believe in our position in Christ.  When we love others, we are obeying God’s greatest commandment.


We may say that “I love God, my neighbor, and myself,” but what is your picture of God, your neighbor, and yourself? You cannot love God if you picture Him as a mad entity that is going to get you for all your sins, or you picture Him as still mad about past sins that you have confessed.  You cannot love your neighbor while picturing Him an obnoxious, loud, uncaring, and hurtful. And last, what does your self-portrait look like? What do you see?  Do you see a person who is kind, loving, caring, and like Christ, or a person who is not worthy of being liked by others or God. Thoughts build pictures in our mind and pictures control our life.  As he thinks in his heart, so is he (Prov. 23:7). To increase love in our life, we need to pray and control our thoughts so that we have positive mental pictures. We will be more loving to others when we have a good mental picture of them and ourselves.  We will be more pleasing to God when we are demonstrating His loving.


Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law (Romans 13:8).


Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10).


The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:14).


These are the attributes that we need to demonstrate. When we find that we are not being loving to God, to others, or to ourselves, we need to stop and change.    


The Greek language is much more specific than English, having at least four different words for love.


Eros encompasses sexual love—the love that a man and woman should enjoy within the marriage relationship.


Storge is limited in its meaning to the love of parents for children (and vice versa) and the normal, familial love of siblings for each other.


Philia is used in the Bible and describes warm and tender feelings between people. It could include physical affection that is decent and appropriate. However the Bible uses none of these three words to describe the Father.


Agape is the term the Bible uses to describe godly love, the love of God. Agape generously embraces concern for the one loved.  It depicts unconquerable benevolence and goodwill.  It even encompasses love for one's enemies. It is a love that continues even when wronged.


God's nature and character are characterized by His agape love. We can receive this type of love only from God Himself and His Son, Jesus Christ.  God is love (1 John 4:16).  And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  Through repentance we can begin to exhibit this kind of love through the Holy Spirit. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith (1 Timothy 1:5).


We must learn to think as God thinks and do as He does—to love as the Father loves.


In what major way has the Father expressed His agape love for all people?  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).


There is a great incentive to love and worship God, for in some unfathomable way, God so loves me, that He wants me as a friend, He desires to be my friend, and has given His Son to die for me, as my substitute, to complete His desire.


Paul called love the greatest Christian attribute (1 Corinthians 13:13). It is the first fruit of God's Spirit that he mentions (Galatians 5:22). It is the bond of perfection, binding everything together in perfect harmony (Colossians 3:14). It is the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13:10).  And from love flows  a desire to thank God through worship. Nothing draws us closer to God than obedience and worshipping Him.


Love is one of the primary characteristics of God since God is love. Having created us in His image, we have also been endowed with the capacity for love. Many are hesitant to say, “I love you” because they mostly associate love with sex.  However, we can say “I love you” because of the wider definition of love that includes: desire to be with, to make happy, to support, to trust, to be kind, passionate, desire, care for, have strong liking, be patient, kind, humble, desire the best, and want the Lord’s blessing for them.  In this vein, we can say that we love those we do not know because in Christ, we want the best for them.


Christ’s example

In Jesus’ time, those of status wore long robes and servants wore a short towel around their waist.  Jesus, being a rabbi, would have worn a long robe.  While His disciples should have been washing His feet, He took off His robe of position and put a servant’s towel around His waist and washed the disciple’s feet.  In great humility, Jesus demonstrated His love, a love that was not dependent on what someone had done or may do, He washed Judas’ feet knowing that in a few minutes Judas was going to betray Him to the cross (John 13:1-17). Expecting nothing in return He humbly washed their feet and demonstrated His love. We should always approach others humbly as a loving servant. When we are humble, we are not prideful. It is in Godly love that we can be humble and that we can escape many of the problems of the world that pride brings. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up (James 4:10).


God’s love

God is love and loves us with a love so great that we have a hard time comprehending just how much he truly loves us.  What extremes God has provided so that we may have a loving relationship with Him.  And yet, to fulfill our love of God, we need to completely believe that God loves us, and we need to know what God expects of us.  We need to spend time daily reading (not speed- reading) and meditating on the Word of God so that we Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2).


 Being free of sin and unforgiveness liberates us to

  live a life of loving - loving God, others, and self


So what has God commanded of us?  And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us (1 John 3:23).


Summary

God’s great Agape love is beyond our understanding.  And to know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 3:19). While beyond our understanding, by faith, we can still receive His great love. As Mark 12:30-31 tells us, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.   The second most important command is this: Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.



Next Section - What Is God’s Second Greatest Desire?

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