How to love


I came across the famous verse:

Jesus replied: “ ‘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. (‭Matthew‬ ‭22‬:‭37-38‬)

And I started thinking, how do you love God? And How do you know that you love God?
When I searched for answers, many articles mentioned a list of things, "good" things to do and evil deeds to avoid.

But I feel that these still didn't answer my questions.

Trying to relate these questions to my love for other human beings, I am worried that I might not really be loving God. I apologise if my words are confusing, I'm not sure how else to phrase them!

I am also wondering whether anybody has thought about this before?


P.s. I understand using quotes is inevitable in posts but I was looking for personalised answers rather than the copying and pasting of information. Thanks again.


  • You love God in 3 ways:
    1) Behaving in a godly way (this actually encompasses #2 and #3 too)
    2) Loving your neighbour, for "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me." (Matthew 25:39)
    3) Praising God through the Church's liturgical rites
  • I really glad you asked this :)
  • You can reverse the question and say: "how do I love my parents?" You love them because they take care of you (even when you are not aware of it), because they cloth you, feed you, house you, comfort you, and are generally interested in your well being. Unless you experience these realities and believe in them, you cannot love your parents.

    The same is with God. Unless you believe and remind yourself that He is taking care and watching over you, clothing You with His glory, feeding you His own life-giving flesh, giving you the church as a home, encouraging you to be strong and perfect just as He is, while caring for your salvation, then you cannot experience His love. Bottom line is that we love Him because He loved us first.
  • also important to note that God loves us more than our parents, and we can have a very beautiful relationship with Him, even if our own families are not perfect.
    happy Christmas!!!
  • Merry Christmas
  • as for the original question, i think there are many ways to renew your relationship with God.
    one is spending lots of time in prayer (starting with agpeya and then personal prayers).
    the you tube video by pope shenouda 'come back to God' explains this better.

    also different people have different ways to experience God.
    some people feel close to God when out in nature / countryside, others when serving poor people / old people etc.

    i believe that if you make the focus of your life coming close to God, you are sure to be successful, 
    as luke 11:13 Jesus says 'how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him' and in luke 12:32 'do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom'.

    personally the times i have felt far from God, i have either been very hurt and not succeeding in forgiving the person who hurt me, or i have been enjoying some sin (eg. pride or selfishness) that i found hard to give up.
    when i tell God honestly how i feel and how hurt i am, then i can start to repent of the things in me that need changing and see how i, too hurt people.

    so may God guide you this Christmas to a deeper and beautiful relationship with Him, for you and for all others who read this.
  • edited January 2015

      To me loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind in practice would be: praying the Agpeya every day and night. Going to Church as much as possible; participating in the Church sacraments. Performing "The Chief Works of Mercy".....

      Living Christ. Living an Orthodox Christian life.

    God has made it simple for us. 
    The Devil complicates it.

    Greetings of the Season to All. Peace and Love. Happy 2015 New Year!

  • This is a really wonderful question. I've definitely thought about it.
    However, love for God can be hard to measure. Does examining my deeds provide a complete picture of my love? No. Because we can acquire a love for God, but we will nonetheless always remain sinners What I mean to say is that good deeds are organic results of my love for God, yes. But the point is not to achieve a life of good deeds, but to love God. And it so happens that your love for God will coexist with the passions that you are trying to rid yourself of. An example of this that I have heard once before: St. Macarius labored to overcome a certain sin for seven years; did his love for God cease to exist in this period? No.

    I think love for God looks very much the same as love for a significant other. Love for the significant other comes so naturally. He/she may become all that we think about at some point. Quality time with the person is all you desire. That person comes to be your 'all in all', as much as another human can possibly be. Same with God. When you feel that God fulfills your every need as a human (except physical ones of course)--when He becomes your God, father, brother, lover, friend, teacher, and any other role you esteem important in your life, then i think you have acquired some love for God. We can never love God enough, however, and we should always strive to perfect and increase this love. 
  • edited January 2015
    From John 14

    Verse 21:
    "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me."

    Verse 15:
    "If you love Me, keep My commandments"

    Verse 23
    "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me."

  • edited January 2015
    From John 14

    Verse 21:
    "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me."

    Verse 15:
    "If you love Me, keep My commandments"

    Verse 23
    "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me."

    A wonderful answer! If I may add to it:

    Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
     - Matthew 22:37-40

    "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
     - John 13:34

    If we love God, we keep His commandments. The meaning and purpose of His commandments are that we love Him and our fellow humans. St. John the Beloved teaches us in his Epistle that we cannot even hope to attain to Love of God until we have succeeded in loving our fellow Christians and our fellow humans:

    If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
     - 1 John 4:20

    It's a little circular, so logically this leads us to seek after a definition for love, which is expressed so beautifully by St. Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthians:

  • Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
     - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

    This helps us understand what it means to have love for our fellow Christians and our fellow humans, which is a step towards loving God. 

    Along the way as we come to see our own weakness and failure to uphold this standard, and grow in grace to actually begin to live up to this standard, I imagine we will begin to taste the truth of St. John the Beloved's words:

    We love Him because He first loved us.
    1 John 4:19

    It seems to me that Love is ultimately a grace we receive, and we grow into it as we struggle for virtue, but paradoxically all we can do is have faith in God's love for us and throw ourselves at His feet hoping to receive the grace we need.

  • Hello @mabsoota I happened to come across your post on this discussion (on forgiving others for hurting you and finding difficulty in forgiveness). If someone were to sincerely apologize for hurting you and you say you forgive them, how could you go about your actions on letting it go based on your prior experiences? In addition to the fact that we are all sinners and God's timing is always right.
  • hmm, it's usually difficult to 'let go' completely.
    if you have a big problem with a certain person, and you have prayed and attended liturgy and honestly opened your heart to God and you still have resentment or pain in your heart, then you need to ask advice from your priest.
    (for anyone who is not orthodox, having a confession father is brilliant and it was a great idea of Jesus to set up the church the way He did).

    i know someone who did this several years ago with a serious enemy (trying to get her out of a job etc.) and she went to a very wise priest and asked 'what must i do?'
    he told her she need to pray for the bad guy. this was really hard, but after a few days of failing to do this, she succeeded by God's grace in praying for him, really asking God to save him from the fires of hell.
    the next day she saw him again, and with a heart full of peace from God, she simply said 'good morning!' and smiled.
    he was really shocked that she was nice to him and he did not know how to reply.
    the power of prayer is really strong in warning people who are doing evil about God's judgement.
    somehow, that guy could see that He who was in the Christian (the Lord) was greater than whatever was in him.

    but each case is different, some people need to repent of their own sin, others need God to heal them of their own hurt so they can forgive etc. etc.
    this is why it is really good to ask a priest about these cases, as he knows you, and God will guide him to give you good advice.
    may God bless your week as you prepare to celebrate His glorious resurrection.
  • Thank you for the lovely advice, i think praying for the person will help:) God Bless! @mabsoota
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