If you think that loving God is not really connected to day to day life read on!

If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both. 1 John 4:20-21 (The Message)

John, one of the first followers of Jesus, has taken a real hot potato here and made it cool enough to fully digest. We may be comfortable with loving God in the security of four walls and with people who share a view of faith with us, but does it really mean anything in the way we view others? I despair (no it isn’t too strong a word) when I come into contact with people who share my Christian faith but don’t connect that love for God with the way they see others. I sympathize with this kind of disconnected faith because, much to my shame, I adopted that view once too. It is rarely a conscious thing but promoted by seeing a piece of the jigsaw puzzle of Christian faith as key to completing the picture. What do I mean? Well, loving God comes from a heart the recognizes our need to live harmoniously with our creator. The way laid down by him is in the sacrificial love displayed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We know that we are to love God by following Jesus. What this has become, in many ways, is the demand of conforming to the religious practices laid out in the church to which we may belong. So, we talk about the church we belong to and the styles in which we worship God rather than “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ ” Luke 10:27 (The NIV translation)

The most important instruction of Jesus to his followers includes loving God completely and loving our neighbor as if they were ourselves. One without the other is like one side of an equation, we don’t get the right total unless we add up both sides. If we don’t love our neighbour as ourselves, says John, we can’t say we really love God, and, if we say we love God it is only fully valid if we love our neighbour. I said before ‘Love is a verb’, a doing word. If part of the jigsaw picture of our world view is made up of active worship toward God then another, equally significant piece, is active love of our neighbour. We may think that we are loving others but unless it is seen through our attitude and actions it is as empty as saying we love God but not actively worshiping him.

God I do love you and I want my love for you to be seen in the love I have for my neighbour. Let the love of Jesus that I know to be real be the source of the love I have. Direct my ways so that the way I love and what I do is a witness to your love for all. Amen.