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Loving God More: A Letter From the Editor

Fellow servants of the Great Commission and the Great Commandment,

Imagine what it would be like if your congregation members loved God more. What would that look like? If the people you serve followed more closely that most important commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30), what would be different in your church, in your ministry, in your community?

Take a moment to imagine that before reading further.

Now let these words from our confessions about that Great Commandment expand the picture you have just imagined:

The First Commandment of God (Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind) is higher than a man upon earth can comprehend, . . . it is the highest theology, from which all the prophets and all the apostles have drawn as from a spring their best and highest doctrines; yea, . . . it is such an exalted commandment, according to which alone all divine service, all honor to God, every offering, all thanksgiving in heaven and upon earth, must be regulated and judged, so that all divine service, high and precious and holy though it appear, if it be not in accordance with this commandment, is nothing but husks and shells without a kernel. (Apology XXVII:25, German version)

Loving-God-MoreThese words are astonishing and wonderful: an incomprehensible height, the spring from which the highest theology flows, the fruit that gives all divine service, honor, offering, and thanks their sweetness and substance. When we talk about our people loving God more, that’s something exalted.

I asked someone to do an experiment in loving God more.

Every day for 180 days, she prayed to God, asking, “Help me to love you more. Help me to better understand what it means to love you. And help me to notice other people who are good examples of those who love you.” She committed to daily journaling. Every week she studied what the Bible says about loving God and checked in with an accountability partner.

God answered her prayers, as he promises to. He blessed her use of his Word and her daily meditation on it, as he promises to. God brought her back to the true foundations of human love for him: repentance, Baptism, focusing more on the Word than on her own feelings, and, at the heart of it all, “love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

Her name is Angie Molkentin. She can be a mentor to you and your church members. She has written about her experiment in a beautiful book, My 180: Loving God More. Click here to learn more about this new title, and click here to read a sample.

My 180: Loving God More isn’t just a play-by-play of what happened to her, though she does tell her story well. It’s also an encouraging handbook to try her experiment yourself. Your members can strive as she strove to drink more deeply from that “spring” of the “highest doctrines.” The proper pursuit of greater love for God always leads us back to better knowing his love for us.

An incomprehensible height, for sure.

Your servant,

Pastor Christopher S. “Topher” Doerr
Broader Reach Editor, Northwestern Publishing House


Image credit: Peggy and Marco Lachmann-Anke (used under Creative Commons CC0)