Perfecting Our Love for God

Many of you will not care for the style of this post, so let me give you the bottom line. Perhaps, the way we learn to love God, is by loving the things that He loves: His children, His creation(s), truth, virtue (knowledge, wisdom, mercy, patience, meekness,… love). If you want to stop here, at least see the bottom of the post.

…and hating the things He hates?

The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. (Psalms 11:5)

There seems to be a presumption in the scriptures that we know how to learn to love God. Consider this interaction:

(Lawyer) And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

(Jesus)    He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

(Lawyer) And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

(Jesus)    And He said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

(Lawyer) But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? (Luke 10:25–29)

How great would it have been if the last line quoted above had been, instead:

(Lawyer) But, how do we perfect our love of God?

I would have loved to have heard the Savior answer that question. We might not have had the parable of the Good Samaritan, but, maybe….

Many of us might presume that the Savior already taught how to develop love of God here:

If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15; compare D&C 42:29: “…keep all me commandments.”)

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (John 14:21)

A tiny bit of logic

Let us put this into an implicational statement: A –> B (If A is true, then B is true; or A implies B). We love Him -> we keep His commandments.

This does not mean that the converse, B –> A, is true: we keep the commandments -> we love Him. It might be true, but it might not.

The contrapositive, Not B –> Not A, is most assuredly true: we don’t keep the commandments ->  we don’t love Him.

In summary:

TRUE: Love God  –> Keep His commandments

TRUE: Don’t keep His commandments -> don’t love God

MIGHT BE TRUE: Keep His commandments -> Love God

Back on topic

But, if we keep (implicitly all) His commandments, then we must be keeping the greatest commandment: to love God, right?

This then implies:

Love God  –> Love God –> Love God –> Love God…  (repeat)

Interesting, that sounds a derivative of The One Hypothesis: want to learn to love God? Simple. Start by loving God.

King Benjamin does seem to support the converse being true at least conditionally (pay particular attention to the word “might”):

…who had taught them to keep the commandments of God, that they might rejoice and be filled with love towards God and all men. (Mosiah 2:4)

Someone taught King Benjamin introductory logic!?! (As an aside, there is some evidence from Joseph Smith’s writings after receiving the Book of Mormon that he did not understand this principle.) Who’d a thunk. This is somewhat reassuring in that it converts this:

Love God  –> Keep His commandments, or Love God –> Love God…  (repeat)

Into this:

Love God  –> Keep His commandments –> Love God –> Keep His commandments… (repeat)

Kind of implies growth, right?  But, there is something more interesting if we layer on this concept:

If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. (John 15:10)

and

Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love. (D&C 6:20)

and

And he that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He [dwelleth] in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us. (1 John 3:23–24)

Adding these together:

Love God  –> Keep His commandments  –>  abide/dwell in & be encircled in His love … (repeat)

But wait. How about:

We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

So, this then:

Start here:    God loved us  –>

Love God  –> Keep His commandments  –>  abide/dwell in & be encircled in His love … (repeat)

Wait, wait. What if Keeping His commandments is the same thing as loving those things that He loves and what if loving the things He loves is the same thing as loving Him? What if these are distinctions without a difference? What if that is what John meant by:

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. (1 John 5:2–3)

Then, perhaps, we have:

Start here: He loved us  –> 

We love God & those things He loves  –> abide/dwell & be encircled in His love … (repeat)

2 Replies to “Perfecting Our Love for God”

  1. Exactly!

    So, learning to love God, learning to know God, and learning to be One with God must all be One, right?

    On another note, the converse is always true if A is equivalent to B. If they are One.

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