The essence of loving is not doing. The essence of loving is delighting — when God is the object. “If you lay gold in the dust . . . the Almighty will be your gold. . . . Then you will delight yourself in the Almighty and lift up your face to God” (Job 22:24–26). Loving God is not first working for God.
“The heart is not an organ of performance, but an organ of preference.”
Somebody right now is quoting in your head: “What about John 14:15, ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments’?” Well, what about it? It’s massively important to see he’s distinguishing the two. If you do the one, you’ll do the other. They’re not the same. If you love me, you’ll do — but doing is not that. This is root; that’s fruit.
Maybe that’s why in the list of heart, soul, mind, strength, in every time that it occurs in the Gospels, heart is first. Because the heart is not an organ of performance; it’s an organ of preference. The heart prefers, and then we do stuff in accord with our preferences. The first commandment is loving with all your preference. Prefer him above everything. Let him be your gold, your silver, your everything, and it’ll change all your doings. If you try to get that reversed and do because you can’t conceive what it means to delight, to prefer, to enjoy, to treasure, you won’t be a Christian. That’s not Christianity.
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