Psalm 116:1-2 –

[1] I love the Lord, because he has heard

my voice and my pleas for mercy.

[2] Because he inclined his ear to me,

therefore I will call on him as long as I live.

Quite often we will hear it said, in sermons or in a Bible study, that we love God just because He is God. Sometimes it will even be said that to love God because of what He does or has done for you, is selfish. It sounds so spiritual, so above the common, carnal reasons that we usually give for loving God. I understand the reason for emphasizing that God is lovely no matter what He does for me. Many quasi-Christians only give God His due if He is behaving in the manner they want. They reduce God to a sugar daddy who comes through for them when they need Him. Until they need Him again they will simply put Him away. It is a horrible thing to do to the Almighty. It is sub-Christian and it needs to die a quick death.

But as is so often the case, it is easy to overreact against this heretical tendency to put God in our pockets as a good luck charm. The result is that we have people talking and believing as if it is wrong to love God for what He does for us. We will hear it in prayers: “O Lord we love you simply because you are God”. Of course it is not wrong to love God simply for who He is. But we do love because He first loved us. Psalm 116:1 states that one of the reasons we love God is because He hears our prayers. It is not wrong to love God for what He does for us.

God demonstrates His love for us (Romans 5:8). This is how we know what love is – He lay down His life for us (I John 3:16). I love God for what He does and has done for me because without Him I can do nothing (John 15:5). If He does not do for me and in me and to me and by me, then I will die, both physically and spiritually. We are born as natural haters of God. He comes and by the power of the Holy Spirit He shows me what He has done for me and I am brought to my knees in gratitude and faith. It is His work for me that has made me bow. It becomes all the more love inducing when I consider what I deserve, what I was like, how much I really hated God and what it took to win me to love Him. It is all stunning truth that cannot but elicit a response. And the response it must elicit is love for God.

We will love God with all our hearts and souls and minds and strengths more sincerely when we grow in our understanding of what God has done, what He is doing and what He has promised to do for all those He came to win back to Himself.

If God had simply shouted from heaven, “Love me” and never did anything to show His worthiness of this love He was demanding, we would not love Him. But He has shown us. He has done great things for us. And we are glad. We benefit. We live because of what He has done. And now, since we are His children, He bends His ear to listen to us when we are needy and bring our needs to Him. What an incredible thing for the sovereign Ruler of the whole created order, to do. What an act of condescension. What an act of love. And we love Him for it. To respond any other way would be unconscionable.

Thank you Lord. We love you. We love you because of what you have done and what you continue to do and what you have promised to do. We love you because you have heard us when we cried. Where would we be if you did not? What a God.