We Are To Love God's Word. Do We Have To Like It?
What does it mean to love something? If you looked up the definition of this word you would find many different meanings. Furthermore, this word can be a noun or a verb. Primarily this word is used to describe a strong affection or devotion to a thing or person. However, in our culture we use this word very loosely. We say things like “I loved that movie” or “I just love eating ice cream” or “I love my car.” Now, while it is not technically wrong to say those things, I would ask the person “Do you really LOVE those things or just like them?” Do you really have a STRONG affection and devotion to these superficial items or do just prefer them over other things?
But what about God’s word? Should we say we, and are we called to, love God’s word?
In this post I look to address 3 main items:
1) Are we called to love God’s word?
2) What does it mean to love God’s word?
3) Does loving something mean you also have like it?
1) Are we called to love God’s word?
I believe we are called to love God’s word. The Bible explicitly provides us examples of this in Psalm 119: 47, 119:97, and 119:127.
“For I find my delight in your commandments, which I love.”
“Oh how I love God’s Word. It is my meditation all the day.”
“I love God’s commandments more than gold, yes, than fine gold!”
It also implies it in Proverbs 4:20-22
“I will not let God’s words depart from my eyes; I will keep them in the midst of my heart. They are life to me and health to all my flesh.”
Furthermore, in the Gospel of Luke Jesus tell us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” To love God with your mind you must know, understand, appreciate and love his word. Loving God with your mind infers an intellectual appreciation for God which comes through reading his word. To love God with your heart and soul can refer to experience, feelings, and emotions, but the mind is an intellectual calling.
So I ask, Do you love God’s word? Do you cherish it more that gold? Do you delight in it? Is it the source of your joy, life, and health?
I have struggled for a long time regarding these questions. In fact, one of my biggest struggles is do I love God’s word for what it says and produces in me? Or do I just love to read it, study it, and debate it for the sake of having more knowledge?
#2 What does it mean to love God’s Word?
To love God’s Word is to recognize it, cherish and obey it as your primary source in life. Jesus said in Mathew 4:4, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Without the word of God we cannot function as individuals, countries or a world. This world has a million problems but can you imagine the total chaos we would have if we didn’t have the Bible to turn to for the answers to all of life’s questions? Can you imagine how lost we would be if we didn’t know how to praise, worship and glorify God? To love the word is to look to it and obey it for the truth it proclaims and the results it produces. A person who loves God’s word doesn’t just cherish the theology but also marvels at the changes it produces in the individual, society and world. A person who loves God’s word doesn’t just like it because the protagonist wins (Jesus defeats Satan), but is humbled by how each verse points to the glory of God, not the glory of man.
A person who loves God’s word literally cannot function without it. But does that mean I have to like it?
#3 Does loving God’s Word mean I also have like everything it says?
I cannot find a verse that says we must like God’s word. Let me give you a natural and a Biblical example of where I am going with this argument.
Natural- Do you love your spouse, children, or parents? Most would say yes. I love them and would lay down my life for them, but does that mean you like everything they do? For instance, I do not like it when my daughter looks right at me and says “NO” and runs away after I tell her to pick up her toys. However, my love and dedication doesn’t change.
Biblical example – Did Jesus like going to the cross? Of course not! This isn’t something he was looking forward to. We know that he didn’t like it because he agonized and pled with the Father to have this cup pass from him. But Jesus loved the Father and his church more so he willingly laid down his life.
The reason I bring this question up is because so much of what keeps people from Jesus, or predicates bad theology, or takes churches and denominations down a path of destruction is people who don’t like what the Bible says so they change it to fit what they want. They find the Bible offensive to their desires and ideas of how God should function and how this world should operate. So they change what it says it to fit their liking.
There are a lot of difficult truths in the Bible that cause much strain in the church and society. Here are a few examples:
1) God’s absolute sovereign choice in election
2) Hell (lasting forever with no second chance)
3) Sin of homosexuality
4) Men as the spiritual head of the household
The question is not do you like these truths (it’s ok not to like Hell). The question is, do you love these truths for what they stand for and what they produce in this world? If your answer is no, then you must ask yourself do you love God?
John Byrne's Bio
John Byrne has been involved in youth ministry for more then 15 years. His ability to engage, challenge, and speak relevantly to his audience has led to speaking opportunities nationwide including camps, seminars, conferences, and training events. He has also written for Group Magazine, Youthworker Journal, and contributed to Youth Ministry Lemonade: turning “sour” experiences into leadership success. To see more of his writing check out the YM Theology blog.
John knew he wanted to be a youth pastor at the early age of 13. While attending Oak Hills Bible College he met the woman of his dreams and convinced her to marry him. After a two year honeymoon in the great state of Colorado he returned to his home state of Minnesota to finish his Biblical Studies degree from Northwestern Bible College.
John’s passion is living out the great mission (commission) in his life and helping others do the same. He does this through writing and speaking as well as missional living in his own neighborhood and community.
John is currently the Student Ministries Pastor at The Rock of Southwest, a church in Littleton, Colorado. He lives in Littleton with his wife Christa, daughter Catrina 11, and son Joash 4.