A Mistake You Don’t Want to Make: Trying to Love God More And Keeping the First Commandment First Place (part 3/6)

Do you want to love God more? I suspect you do. But the answer to love God more is not to pray, “Lord, help me to love You more” or “Lord, pour out your love in my heart.” Nor is “getting more hungry, thirsty, passionate and desperate” the right answer to love Him more.

The right answer on how you can experience and love God more is much better that.

God loving you

The reason why so many believers struggle to love God more is because they try to love in their own strength. “If I pray enough, read the Bible more and do my best, I’ll be loving God more” is the underlying idea.

The truth is that you can’t love God more in and of yourself.

Stop trying to love God

The idea that we should be loving God with all of our being comes from Jesus’ lips: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your mind.” Even though this is a true statement it is not applicable to you because Jesus preaches law here and you’re not under the law but under grace (Rom. 6:14). Want to see it yourself?

A lawyer came to Jesus and asked, “What is the greatest and most important commandment in the law?” Did you catch that? He’s asking what the most important commandment is in the LAW! So Jesus quotes from the law – from Deuteronomy 6:5 – and says “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and great commandment (Matt. 22:37-38).

We know that love has been what’s most important in God’s eyes. Loving God is definitively the first and greatest commandment the law, but it’s still law. And the law is not meant for you as a believer, for it’s purpose is to drive unbelievers to the cross for salvation.

Something greater then loving God

Even though Jesus says there’s nothing greater then the first commandment there still is something infinitely greater then loving God! I can hear someone say, “How can there be something greater?”

The clue is in understanding that Jesus Christ has abolished the lesser Old Covenant Law and established the greater New Covenant of Grace. Therefore, the way of relating to God – and the way of loving God – has changed a 100%.

We’ve moved from an achieving- into a receiving system.

Under law, people loved God based on their achievements. Loving God was proportional to their performance. They tried to love God more but continuously failed to keep the first commandment – loving God – in first place due to their poor performance.

Under grace, however, people love God based on receiving His love for them. They love God more – not by human sweat – but by resting in the fact they’re loved by Him. That’s a big difference!

The highest point of the law is to love God. Yet, you are incapable of loving God more and your Father is never asking you to love Him more based on your ability.

There is something infinitely more important and greater then your ability to love God and that is God’s love for you!

His love for you is greater

The thing that is greater then the first Commandment – then you loving God – is God loving you. His love for you is greater then the law; greater than the first Commandment.

1 John 4:19 says, “We only love Him, because we understand He first loved us.” Only when we understand how much God loves us, we are capable of loving Him back.

Loving God

What causes us to love God more? By focussing on how much He loves us. And as a result you will automatically fall deeper in love with Him.

Jesus introduced this new way of loving God when He said to His disciples, “a new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:24).

You live according to the laws of the New Covenant when you are conscious of how much God loves you. And the more you are conscious of His love for you, the more your heart is filled with love. When that happens, you will love God and the people around you supernaturally and effortlessy.

God is always the initiator and we are always the responder to His ways. And His ways are always love. Your greatest need is not to love God more, but to understand how much God loves you. It is the understanding of how much He loves you that inspires the same response back.

God is always the initiator. You are the responder.

You part is to respond to God’s love by thinking much upon the quality of love He’s already bestowed on you (1 John 3:1). Our love for God is a response to His love for us. It’s not something you intitiate.

I know you want to love God more. The answer to loving Him more is to focus your attention on how much He loves you. You’ll become overwhelmed as your emotions are awakened by His divine affections for you.

Chuck full of love

God’s love has been (past tense) poured out into your heart (Rom. 5:5).

Love is not something you generate to get some love sprinkled from above. God has already given you all the love you’ll ever get and all the love can handle.

You won’t love God more by crying out for more of His love which He already has poured out in you. You can’t create love for God. Only God can create love for Himself by being Himself in you, as you.

The “secret” of Christiantity is not found in trying, but trusting.

We have spoken of trying and trusting, and the difference between the two. Believe me, it is the difference between heaven and hell – Watchman Nee

The idea that you need to love God more and keeping the first Commandment first place is a religious lie that puts the burden on you. The only way to love God more is not by praying more, reading more, fasting more, but by receiving revelation knowledge how much God loves you.

Instead of legalistically praying, “Lord, help me to love You more” or “Pour out Your love on me” say, “Father, show me how much You love me! And as a result your heart will, again, be awakened and softened with His tender love.

Old Covenant approach

An Old Covenant law-preacher will sweep you into a emotional frenzy for you to drum up love for God, saying things like,

  • You need to have radical love for Jesus
  • You got to get hungry
  • You need to get desperate

  • You got to be red hot with fiery love
  • You need to love God more

These are Old Covenant statements that keep you self-dependent ánd dependent on the preacher – for he or she is the one who will give you the keys, steps and formulas on how you can get more radical, hungry, desparate and more love.


The Gospel, however, has solved all these problems, including the lack of love. Since you are a 100% filled with Gods love in your spirit you lack no love. You’re not an empty tank that needs a daily infilling of love. Your tank is chuck full of Divine love. All that’s left to do is to receive revelation of His great love that He’s already poured into your hearts.

Do you want to grow in your ability to love? You can’t produce love in your will-power. Your are not the source of love, God is. But you will love God more by receiving revelation of His outrageous love for you. You receive it from Him and then it pours back to Him and others. Allow Him to continuously love on you every day.

Your job is just to drink in the love of God. Drinking His love produces supernatural fruit – you’ll start to love others as He loves you (John 13:34).

To conclude

The idea that you need to love God more and keep the first Commandment – to love God – first place stems from a legalistic mindset that puts the burden on you. Jesus’ law based preaching on “loving God first place” is often the cause of this misguided believe.

The truth is that you can’t love God more by doing more of this or that. You will effortlessly love God more by leaning back – having a receiving attitude – and understand how much He already loves you! Instead of trying to love God more, we just drink deeply from the Father’s love and let it overflow to others.


  1. Brother Bas,
    First let me say that you present the truth of God’s wonderful grace to His people very clearly and accessibly. Nicely done. Thank you. In reading your transcript here of the message I would like to suggest one thing. You say this, “You can’t create love for God. Only God can create love for Himself by being Himself in you, as you.” I believe that this is a major over arching truth that should be emphasized in teaching the truth you have revealed here. I am saying this, because you only mention it in passing. I have come to believe that in presenting the truths of the nature you have presented here, it is critically important to give the Holy Spirit an opportunity to reveal to the hearer that it is no longer they ( the old person we refer to as ourselves) that lives, and that we must see, by revelation, that it is the Christ of God that now animates my total being so that my simple reflection toward God at any given moment is actually God breathing and functioning through me. This is the blessed and unspeakable reality that we now rejoice in. My life is no longer “my life” but every atom of my being is a reflection of God Himself, such that it is God loving God through my expression of love toward Him. Yes, when we hear of His great love for us, it causes great joy and response back to Him, but it is the fact of my life being His life, complete and perfect, that makes the whole reality of loving God a sweatless endeavor. I didn’t mean to go on so, but I was truly blessed by your sharing, and thought that I would take the liberty to share with you. You do suggest this in the excerpt above, but my only thought was that it seemed lost in the total presentation. I offer that for your consideration. Thank you for your service to the Lord!

    • Bas Rijksen says

      Thank you Joe. I’m blessed and inspired the way you are able to express these great truths in simple words! I totally agree with what you say. It is a statement that should/could be expounded on sooo much more. It’s often a tension that I found myself in when touching on one particular subject: how much do you say of what? What do you leave in and out?
      What you are writing is a great addition and support that people are now able to read as well on this subject. Thank you for that.

  2. Certainly disagree…

    To one of the men who answered that the greatest two commands were such, Jesus responded, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God”. Thus, to truly live by Grace, which is the Gospel of the Kingdom, is to live the “two commandments”. Bill Johnson had an interesting quote on the ibetheltv YouTube channel.. He said Law is a commandment given with the expectation of you fulfilling it. Grace is a commandment given with the ability to fulfill it..

    I recently published a book addressing Hyper-Grace as well… Called, Hyper-Grace: Biblically Confronting Current False-Grace Heresies. In it, among other things, I outline Matt 5:17-20, where Jesus said that whoever breaks the least of the commandments (of Moses) and teaches others to do the same is the least in the Kingdom, hence, the least in love, and the least in Grace. You might want to check it out. Or Steve Hill’s book, Spiritual Avalanche.

    Things are certainly different under grace, but the end result is actually higher than the Law, because it deals with the root. The law actually forbade the adding to or taking away from the Law itself (Deut 4:2), so the Sermon on the Mount is not Jesus “adding” to the law to prove it’s impossibility.. That would have made Him a sinner, so Jesus couldn’t have been talking about the Law, say, when he said to look with lust is sin. Rather, He was describing live in the Kingdom of God, that is, salvation, aka, Grace.

    • Bas Rijksen says

      Hi Benjamin,

      Good to hear from you. I’m glad you’re sharing your views.

      What if it’s impossible for us to fullfil the law (Rom. 8:4), that Jesus is the perfect Lawkeeper and lives in us so that we don’t have to keep rules any more but live from a place of relationship and bear fruit from the place of trusting in Him and Him alone (and not our efforts to do right and avoid evil).

      And what if Jesus has ended our relationship with the Law by fullfilling it Himself and that the righteousness of God has come as a free gift and the Christian life not depends on our performance, but on Christ performance and that our live is about allowing Him in us to live His life through us. (Rom. 10:4).

      I’ve read the book you mention from Steve. Also Dr. Browns, and Dr. Ellis’ book, and D.R. Silva’s book on Hypergrace and such.

      I agree with anything that points to Jesus and makes Him look better and bigger, not with what points to us and our self-efforts and law-keeping preachings. It’s all about Jesus and His finished work!

      We can’t produce or drum up love or any supernatural fruit by keeping commandments, but rather by relying on the One who is our Source and who alone is able to bear godly fruit. So that He alone gets the glory.

      • From the parable of the four soils, we discern that it is not the seed that affects the harvest, it is the dirt. Some hearts that receive the Word produce no harvest, for differing reasons, but only the true and honest heart receives the Word of the Kingdom and produces life. Further, from the mustard seed, we do, indeed, see that it is only that germ of truth, that germ of faith, and that seed of salvation, the spirit of Truth, that though it is the smallest of seeds, grows into the largest of all garden plants, namely, the Kingdom.

        So, indeed, the work of the Kingdom grows, whether a man gets up or not, once the seed is planted, it grows, first the sprout, then the stalk, then the leaf, then the full head of grain. Once the grain is fully ripe, immediately the sickle is plunged in, and the harvest taken. True indeed.

        But, I wonder, if in your analysis, you haven’t overlooked something… As you know, there are both tares and wheat.. The tare looks identical to the wheat, except at the time of the harvest. The way you tell a tare from a wheat is the yield. But, the Scripture says,

        [F]or it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Phil 2:13

        You say that it is not for us to drum up love or any supernatural fruit, but that rather it is relying on the One who is our source. True enough, I suppose. But, God has been at work on the inside of me, even as I slept, and has been working His will into me. So, when I will do do a work for Him, is it my will, or is it His will? Was it my decision and my flesh, or was it His working in me to cause me to will and to work? The answer to that question is neither, but it is both, if you follow my meaning…. How do you discern whether your will is your own or His?

        Do Christians sin? Of course they do.. 1 John is written to believers, and 1 John 2:1 is written to “us”. So, is it the will of the Father for us to sin? Of course not, because why else would we have an advocate. Could you possibly say that the advocate is for sinners and not for the righteous?

        So, if it is God willing in us, where do we draw the line? Jesus clearly delineated it as the Law of Moses. You are correct. The only way to keep the law, and thence to teach it, is to live according to the one who is living inside of us. In that place of relationship.

        Now, catch this.. This is the most important point… John 3:19-21 says, “this is the verdict, that light came into the world and men loved darkness rather than the light”. But, the next two verses catch it.. v20 is about those who do “evil”, and v21 is not about those who do “good”, but those who do “truth”. Many translations get this wrong. But, make sure you get this. The only thing God is looking for is “truth”, not goodness. There is none good but God. Jesus is saying, roughly, that if you walk in truth, honesty, and sincerity, that seed of the Kingdom, you will have no problem letting your innermost being be exposed, because there is no fear in love, and no shame in being beholden. Jesus said you come into the light that it may be plainly seen that what has been done has been wrought through God.

        God did not contrast “evil” with “good”, He contrasted “evil” with “truth”. We are, indeed, incapable of “good”, in ourselves, but it is living by that inward source of life, that relationship, in which we follow after God. That is the only “good” we are capable of, simply following and obeying.

        But, what happens when we deny the fact that sometimes we aren’t following after that “inward witness”? What happens when do not always rely on that relationship and attempt to do something out of another motive? We are no longer following the way of Truth, of Jesus. This may seem similar to what you’re saying, but it’s different. There is a different way, because, if there wasn’t, you wouldn’t spend your time warning people not to make “mistakes”. Your admonition and exhortation here is clear “prima faice” evidence that you believe there is a way of truth, and that it matters how you live, and that if you live the wrong way, there is a consequence. That means, many well-meaning Jesus-believers can have that inward relationship with Him, but still do things wrong, very wrong, so much that Paul said, “Who has bewitched you?” Simply put, your need to state these things demonstrates that you actually believe it can be done wrong, even when living in a life with Jesus. Which is precisely my point. You prove it with these blogs, simply because you feel a need to tell others what you believe to teach them the “right way” as you see it.

        What happens at that point, when you have a relationship with Christ but are not in some point living by it? Jesus said it plainly.. If you break and teach others to break, you are the least in the Kingdom. This means, obviously, that some have a greater and lesser place in the Kingdom. Some are more in the Kingdom, and some are less. So, then, the question comes back down to “Why?” As we saw first, it comes down to the soil, not the seed… But, if the soil is us, and it all depends upon the soil, what response is necessary? What can we do to be better soil? Or, is it all by God’s pre-ordained providence, has He already destined some to be better soil than others, some to be 30, some 60, and some 100-fold? And, some to be worthless? While we know the harvest is only the product of Grace, what of simply being good soil?

        Maybe I can leave it there… If the soil is simply what it is, and nothing can be done for it, then, do we simply leave it as it may? Or, is there a yielding to the choice within, a choosing to surrender to the greater lover? Is there a place of saying yes, to the torrents of fire, to the oversweeping magnificence of the essence of Christ, and to the never-ending drumbeats of the thunders of heaven?

        I’ll tell you this, Most Happy are the pure in heart, for they shall see God….. That’s not for everybody, but, I tell you what… It sure as anything is going to be me…. If for no other reason than I won’t take no for an answer….



  1. […] over everything else – the “worldy things.” Consequently we’ve come to believe that our love for God – wich falls in the spiritual category – must be greater or get more focus than our […]