The religion of God can be summed up in these words, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.” There is, of course, much more to it than that in regards to necessary doctrine and right thinking about God, but the heart of the practical nature of true religion is this. Love God, love man. Luther is quoted as saying, “Love God and do whatever you please.” The idea is that when you truly love God whatever you desire will be good. When God is the center of your affections there will be no desire in you that is contrary to him. When you really love God you are rendered incapable of sin. That’s right, I said incapable.
And yet sin exists within the lives of believers. Why? Every sin can be traced to a primary problem of disobedience to the greatest commandment. And disobedience to the greatest command is arguably the greatest sin. It is also the greatest tragedy. Unlove to God will always lead us to sadness. We were not made for this world and we have found very clearly that nothing in this world will ever satisfy us. The only thing that can make us happy is the greatest good. This brings us the explanation of why God commands that we praise him. The praise of what we love completes our joy in that thing. God knows that we will only be truly satisfied in gazing at him because he is not wrong in thinking himself the greatest good in the universe.
Unfortunately I’m broken. I’m broken, blind and stupid. My body rules my mind and my affections point in random directions. I hate it. I feel like I want to rip something out of my chest. Like there are physical creatures living in me screwing up everything. Do you ever feel that way? I hate it. I want it to end it. I want to love God. But I can’t. Can you? Can you sustain a constant love to God that guides your heart and your walk? What’s the trick? What’s the secret? How do we win when all the powers of hell are thrown against us?
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.