It is not so easy to love God as most imagine. The affection of love is natural, but the grace is not. All the strength in men or angels cannot make the heart love God. Ordinances will not do it of themselves, nor judgments; it is only the almighty and invincible power of the Spirit of God can infuse love into the soul.
Love is the most noble and excellent grace. It is a pure flame kindled from heaven; by it we resemble God, who is love. Believing and obeying do not make us like God, but by love we grow like Him. Love is a grace which most delights in God, and is most delightful to Him. Faith is not true, unless it works by love. The waters of repentance are not pure, unless they flow from the spring of love. Love is the incense which makes all our services fragrant and acceptable to God.
Is that unreasonable which God requires? It is but our love. If He should ask our estate, or the fruit of our bodies, could we deny Him? But He asks only our love: He would only pick this flower. Is this a hard request? Was there ever any debt so easily paid as this? We do not at all impoverish ourselves by paying it. Love is no burden.
God desires our love. We have lost our beauty, and stained our blood, yet the King of heaven is a suitor to us. What is there in our love, that God should seek it? What is God the better for our love? He does not need it, He is infinitely blessed in Himself. If we deny Him our love, He has more sublime creatures who pay the cheerful tribute of love to Him. God does not need our love, yet He seeks it.
God has deserved our love; how has He loved us! Our affections should be kindled at the fire of God’s love. What a miracle of love is it, that God should love us, when there was nothing lovely in us. We had something in us to provoke fury, but nothing to excite love. What love, passing understanding, was it, to give Christ to us! That Christ should die for sinners! God has set all the angels in heaven wondering at this love.
If you do not love God, you will love something else, either the world or sin; and are those worthy of your love? Is it not better to love God than these? If you set your love on worldly things, they will not satisfy. You may as well satisfy your body with air, as your soul with earth. If you love worldly things, they cannot remove trouble of mind. If there be a thorn in the conscience, all the world cannot pluck it out.
When you love the world, you love that which is worse than yourselves. But if you love God, you place your love on the most noble and sublime object: you love that which is better than yourselves. God is better than the soul, better than angels, better than heaven.
You may over-love the creature. You may love wine too much, and silver too much; but you cannot love God too much. If we could love God far more than we do, yet it were not proportionate to His worth; so that there is no danger of excess in our love to God. You may love worldly things, and they die and leave you. But if you love God, He is “ a portion for ever” (Psalm 73:26).
If it is better to love God than the world, surely also it is better to love God than sin. What is there in sin, that any should love it? Sin is a debt. Sin is a disease. “The whole head is sick” (Isa. 1: 5). Sin is a misshapen monster. Sin is an enemy. God will save you, sin will damn you; is he not become foolish who loves damnation?
Love is the most abiding grace. This will stay with us when other graces take their farewell. In heaven we shall need no repentance, because we shall have no sin. In heaven we shall not need patience, because there will be no affliction. In heaven we shall need no faith because faith looks at things unseen (Heb. 11:1). But then we shall see God face to face; and where there is vision, there is no need of faith. But when the other graces are out of date, love continues…
Excerpts (arranged and condensed) from
A Divine Cordial by Thomas Watson