For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. —Hosea 6:6

            Our Lord desires our love, not sacrifice.   His desire above all else is for people to love Him. We are told by Jesus in Matthew 22:37-38 to “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Deuteronomy 6:5). “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them” (John 14:21).

This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. —I John 5:2-5

            To love God is the first and greatest responsibility we have.   How is that shown? It is by a willingness to submit to Him and obey Him.   This shows our trust in Him, our knowing dependence on Him and a belief that He always has our best interest in mind.   How do we know when someone really loves those who follow Jesus? It is by their love for God. If they do not have a love for God, seen in obedience to Him, then they do not love those who follow Jesus. We cannot sugarcoat what this is saying— If I am not loving God, if I am not being obedient to Him, then I do not love those who follow Him. This is very clear from His Word. Do I love Him? Is obedience to Him my top priority? If the answer is yes then I love others who know Him. If the answer is no, then I do not love others who know Him.

            To know God is to be desired more than burnt offering— Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3). To know God, to know Jesus is of first importance. Do I have a loving relationship with our Father and Son?   This is what is most important.   Now if we truly love someone and want to get to know them we have to spend time together with them— listening to them and asking them questions, conversing with them. How much time do I spend with Him doing this? How about you?

“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little” (Luke 7:47). Our love for our Lord and our desire to know Him more will come as we understand His great love for us— “We love because he first loved us” (I John 4:19). “For God so loved the world that He GAVE HIS ONE AND ONLY SON… (John 3:16). Yes our love will grow as we understand more His love for us. May we grow in our knowing Him, in our desire to be with Him!

Dearest Father this is my desire— to know You more, to love You more so that I would love Your children. Oh, may this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.

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