I have heard sermon that says, don’t love the Lord for what he can bless you, but love him for who is he. That sounds pious, but it doesn’t make sense. How can you know who God is, until he answers your prayers? Until he blesses you? Disciplines you? Until he pursues you.
How do you fall in love with your wife or husband when you were dating him or her? Do you just love him for who he is, and hence married him? Yes and no. You only loved him for what kind of person he is, after he has done things for you, how he treats you, and what he says, his attitude, and how he clicks with you. Correct? My point is you can never fall in love with a person without knowing him personally. But knowing a personally, is only possible through his actions, and love, compassion, commitment, etc. as you observe him.
Same thing with God, to say to love God for who is only, is superficial. You would need to know him personally through your experience of him. That’s why Jesus appeared to Paul and struck him blind, and revealed his great love and calling to him. That’s why Jesus called Peter from the boat, and ion fact for an entire year or more, the twelve apostles couldn’t fully believe in Jesus even after Jesus walked on water, raised the dead, opened the eyes of the blind, and so forth, so much so, it came to a point, Jesus asked them who do you say I am? Only one person got it, Peter ! He said you are the Son of God. So how did peter get there? He has observed listened to every miracle Jesus did, and his powerful anointed teachings. Peter didn’t love Jesus for who he is only, but that is only possible after what Jesus has done for him, and for others, and what Jesus has taught. That’s the reality. And of course the Spirit of God revealed to Peter ultimately. We love Jesus for who he is, but that means what he can do for us as well, that’s all part of the package.
Psalm 116: 1-2 I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
2 Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.
Psalm 116 says I love the Lord for he heard my voice, he heard my cry for mercy, because he turned his ear to me I will call on him as long as I live.
Did you see the word “for”, that is “because”. Psalm 116 is saying I love the Lord , for or because he (the Lord) heard my voice. There you go, only then you know what kind of God he is. Only then you can love the Lord. Then its true you love the Lord for what he can do for us too!
Some sermons says this says that you got to love the Lord not for what he can do for you but for who he is. But I would dispute that because who God is, is only reflected in what he does for us and for the world. Without that how do we know who he is? Therefore to teach the word of God that says to love the Lord for who he is but not for what he can do or bless you is not according to the Bible, it’s not biblical. Because he says clearly that I love the Lord for he heard my voice , in other words I would not love the Lord if he did not hear my voice.
Doesn’t sound fair? It is very fair because if God doesn’t hear my voice, I don’t even know he exists. In verse 2 because he turns his ear to me I will call on him as long as I live. That is precisely why I called upon God because he turned his ear to me. If he didn’t turn his ear to me, I would not know that he loves me and therefore I cannot love him.
You know Westminster’s confession also says that we love and not in fact Jesus said in the in the scripture, we love because he first loved us. That’s very important.