By Drew Zuverink
"This is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God."
Think of all of the people that you love and start with the ones that you love the most. My guess is you thought of a family member or a friend first, then maybe more family and more friends. Eventually you thought of people from church or maybe a coworker. Whoever you thought of though - they were people that you know. The people that you thought of first, the people that you love the most in this world - you probably know them the best right? You have memories together, you've laughed together, you've cried together, you know their interests and their hobbies, you know their likes and their dislikes, you know their dreams and their fears, and all of that intimate knowledge has caused you to love them deeply.
In order to love someone intimately you have to know them. The more that you know someone, the more you can love them. I love my wife more today than I did a month into our relationship. Why? Because I know her better. Paul prayed that the Philippine Christians would abound in their love more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. The more knowledge that we have about what God is like; how he acts, how he thinks, how he feels about people, why he commands certain things, how he creates, how he loves, why he died on a cross, why he listens to prayers - the more you know about those things, the more you can love God.
If you do not know very much about what God is like it will be really hard for you to love him. Through the Bible and through Christian books, Christian podcasts, sermons and so on, we are able to learn things about God that can lead us to becoming more in love with him. When I am reminded of the passage that describes how God does not want anyone to perish but he wants everyone to be saved, I can rejoice knowing that he wants me to love him. When I read how he created the world and all that is in it I can rejoice when I am out in nature just imaging how powerful and creative he really is. When I read the stories of his wrath being poured out on people who constantly disobeyed and ignored him, I am reminded that he is the king, he is in charge, and I have a healthy fear of him. There is much to learn about God, so much so that nobody will ever fully understand him, but the more that we learn about him the more that we can love him.
It's like knowledge is a ceiling. If you have very little understanding of God then you are limited in how much you can love him because there is a ceiling in the way. The more that you start to understand God, the nighter the ceilings of your love for him can grow.
Many of us want to have more love for God but many of us don't feel like that is happening. If that is you, I encourage you to examine your life. Are you zealous over your alone time in God's word? Do you have an attitude of, "I will not let anything keep me from my scheduled time with God today." Or are you someone who has been easily distracted by life and it's been a little while since you've spent quality time alone with God? If you want to actually feel something towards God, you must set time aside on a regular basis to get to know the person that you want to love.
One of the most encouraging passages in scripture says this, "If you draw near to God he will draw near to you." Try it and see if it works. Don't quit after ten minutes if you don't get anything out of it either. Keep pushing forward, keep reading, keep listening - because if you really want something you don't give up that easily. God knows that and sometimes he waits to see how easily we will give up on drawing near to him. Take courage, if you want him you can have him. He wants us to love him, just take the time to get to know him.