By Alisha Headley, Crosswalk.com
Most of my life, I’ve known about who God is.
I was taught all the popular stories in the Bible about Him. I would sing all the Sunday school songs week after week. I even attended a private Christian school the majority of my life where we often quoted scripture from memory as we were required to memorize a large amount of it.
I was full of head knowledge, but what I came to find out when I got older and life started throwing curveballs my way, is that I didn’t lean on God, nor depend on Him. My head knowledge I had was just that: head knowledge.
I never allowed what I learned about God to go from my head and sink into the depths of my heart. My heart did not cry out to Him for His loves to rescue me, guide me, and protect me. Rather, my heart was full of all sorts of misplaced affections instead of the fullness of love for God.
Let's talk about 5 ways to turn your head knowledge into heart knowledge, and be in love with God for the rest of your life.
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1. To Fall in Love with God, We Must Rid Ourselves of Lesser Loves
Instead of resting in God’s love and sovereignty for my life, I depended on my own ways or I ran to other loves. These misplaced affections are when our needs are met somewhere else other than within our relationship with the Lord.
1 Kings 3:3 talks about King Solomon also having misplaced affections in his life. It says, “Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.”
Solomon’s affections weren’t fully placed on the Lord. Some of his affections were placed in this world that eventually became his idols. Today’s idols are different than Old Testament idols, but the struggle is still the same.
These affections could be affecting your wholehearted devotion and love for God preventing you from falling in love with Him.
Are you in love with other things more than God Himself?
In order to fall in love with the Lord the way the Lord is in love with us, we have to begin taking our idols and misplaced affections and replacing them with God. We must slowly surrender them to the Lord, day by day. We are to love God above all else as we are taught in Luke 10:37 to “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all mind…”
I encourage you as you are beginning the journey of falling in love with God for the rest of your life, that you surrender anything in your life that comes before Him. Your marriage, your children, the gym, your career, your friends, your status, your addictions.
Or it could be the time you spend putting your mind into social media or tv that isn’t nourishing or strengthening your love for God. Anything that is taking the place of the Lord, begin to remove those so you can make room for your love for God to grow.
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2. To Fall in Love with God, We Must Understand the Love He Has for Us
When you fall in love with your spouse, you typically both fall in love together over time as you get to know the beautiful things to love about the other person. But did you know that God already loves you?
It doesn’t take Him time getting to know you. He doesn’t observe you first or wait for you to do certain things for Him to love you. The truth is: He already loves you.
1 John 4:19 says “we love Him, because He first loved us."
To really fall in love with God, you must understand first, this love He has for you. The Bible itself is one big love story of God for His people. From the very beginning, He wanted to protect Adam and Eve by telling them not eat the fruit from the tree of life (Genesis 3).
The Bible consists of numerous stories like this, where generation after generation would choose to walk in their way, rather than God’s way. And we still do that today
But God’s relentless and gracious pursuit will never stop because He loves us that much.
Because we live in a fallen world, God chose to send His very own son from Heaven in the form of a flesh man named Jesus to this earth to bring us eternal salvation by dying on the cross for us.
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believed in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” What a beautiful love story! God loved us so much that He sent His son so that we could spend forever with Him.
Let’s rest in this love today!
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3. To Fall in Love with God, We Must Begin to Know Him Personally
Oh friends--please hear this: God’s love for you is so personal.
Not only did He send His very own son to die a brutal death so He could be with us forever, but He loved you even before you were born. He formed you and created you with intention.
In fact, God has had His eye on us even before we were born. Jeremiah 1:5 says “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you...”
Psalm 139:13-18 says God “formed my inward parts…I am fearfully and wonderfully made…when I was made in secret, your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed….your thoughts toward me are precious, that if I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand.”
We have not only been made personal by God’s hands Himself but He views us as His very own “masterpiece.” (Ephesians 2:10) Every single time He sees us and thinks about us, He sees nothing but perfection and is always thinking of us, as His precious daughter.
He doesn’t see the scars, the sin, or the works you’ve done or not done. Max Lucado spoke a lovely quote of God’s love for us saying, “God loves you so much, that He put our face on His refrigerator.”
Because God’s love is so personal, it’s important that we get to know Him on a personal level too and in doing so, we will begin to fall in love with Him the more time we spend with Him personally. To know him personally, we simply need to talk to Him, and we do this through prayer.
How many times do you talk about God to others, read about Him, hear about Him through the podcasts or church, and even think about Him throughout your day? Now, allow me to ask this: how many times do you actually pray out loud to Him directly?
Thinking about Him and talking about Him, is not the same as praying to Him. We are taught countless times to constantly be in a state of prayer. I Thessalonians 5:17 says to “pray without ceasing.”
Can you imagine being married to your spouse or in love with someone who rarely spoke to you? We need to pray and speak to our Father to grow a fond love for Him.
Ephesians 6:18 says to “pray at all times”. Pray while cooking breakfast, in the shower, throughout your day. Carve out alone time as Jesus did to tune out the distractions of the world and tune into knowing God more personally. Jesus “often withdrew to lonely places to pray” (Luke 5:16).
In doing this, we will begin to fall in love with God, as the more we talk to Him, we will get to know him personally.
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4. To Fall in Love with God, We Must Spend Time in His Word
The Bible “is living, it is active, it is powerful ” (Hebrew 4:12). The more time you spend in the Word of God, the more He will begin to speak to you.
Prayer is so important as that is when we speak to God. But reading God’s word is when He speaks to us. There is so much treasure hidden but meant to be found in the pages of the Bible.
When you begin to spend time in His Word, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal more about who God is and it is then, you will fall more in love with Him.
The Jews were characterized by being a people who listened to the voice of the Shepherd. We get to participate in this thousands of years later by soaking in God’s word and listening as God speaks to our hearts.
You will learn more about His loving and forgiving character. You will see the gentle spirit of Jesus as He walked this earth and loved those people that others deemed as unlovable.
You will see God’s sovereignty and protection. You will realize God has never not fulfilled His promises, for He is faithful. You will see His faithfulness to His people time and time again when His people proved their lack of faithfulness over and over again.
Every word written in the Bible is there on purpose, so I encourage you to read through it all as you begin to fall more in love with God as you learn more about just how wonderful He is.
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5. Don’t Just Fall in love, but Stay in Love
Over time, you will begin to fall in love with God by ridding yourself of lesser loves and placing your heart on God and not misplaces affections. By resting in the fullness of love that He has for you. By getting to know Him personally the more time you talk with Him in prayer. And by spending time in His word allowing Him to reveal more of who He is and His faithfulness.
The more you do this, the more you will realize that nothing in this world compares to being in love with God. That falling in love with God was the best decision you ever made in your life.
Maybe this is what the prophet Solomon meant when he came to the end of his life when he said, “meaningless, meaningless, everything else is meaningless” (Ecclesiastes 12:8). Nothing compares in this lifetime to being in love with God who is totally and completely enamored and graciously in love with us!
Falling in love is like no other, and I love hearing how other’s love came to be. Even more, I admire couples that are married for decades and have managed to still stay in love in all those years later.
While there is so much beauty in the falling in love, there is also much to be said with actually staying in love.
So how does one stay in love with God and not just fall in love?
They key is you must never stop searching for Him. Jeremiah 29:13 says that “if you seek me, you will find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” We must seek him and keep on seeking Him.
Keep knocking. Keep enduring. Keep digging. The Bible is full of mystery just waiting to be discovered with hidden treasure throughout. We must keep digging them up layer by layer and see God’s marvelous works uncover piece by piece.
As we uncover, we will continue to see the beautiful making of our Lord. We will continue to see blessings and favor of our Lord in our lives. We will begin to see everything He does in our lives that we might not have seen otherwise. And because of this, we will continue to love Him and stay in love with Him as we go to new heights with Him.
Please open our eyes to see you and your purposes in a whole new way. To stay in love with you forever as we experience new things with you. Please reveal new truths, showing yourself faithful. As we read Scripture, bring us fresh words. Thank you that as we wait for you, the One we love and will spend eternity with, to come riding on a white horse one day for us (Revelation 19:11-16), that your “steadfast love [for us] endures forever”. Psalm 136:26
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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