And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. Luke 10:27
If you could identify the greatest commandment in scripture, what would it be? This challenge was given to Jesus, and his response pointed to loving God. But instead of simply saying “Love God,” His answer was multi-dimensional, because love has many facets. His answer covered several aspects of love. He specifically identified the heart, the soul, our strength(s), and our minds, and then his concept flowed over into loving our neighbor as well as ourselves. We can say we love God while we still keep separate compartments for ourselves. But Jesus wanted to make sure we would not think our love could be compartmentalized. He gave four different aspects of our love for God, and then just to make sure we understood that we couldn’t hold back in some specific area for ourselves, he added that what love is not directed toward God should be directed to others (our neighbors).
Jesus did not include in His definition to “love yourself.” He probably knew that loving ourselves was a natural reality that we don’t have to work at. But what we do need to work at is loving others. And the return for that is that, when we love others and help meet their needs, it brings us personal joy and pleasure. As we love others we in turn bring blessing on ourselves.
So what does it mean to love God? Initially, we can say that it means selflessness. It means thinking of others. It means dedicating everything about us to the service of God. It means following the first of the Ten Commandments and having no other Gods before us. It means being so enthused about God that we forget ourselves as we use all our energies for Him.