“I love ice cream,” said my five-year-old with great delight. Most likely he will love ice cream tomorrow and the days after that. Love is an ongoing feeling.
When using the word “love,” we’re expressing an emotion we expect to continue. Otherwise, it’s not real love but a whim, an impulse, a passing fancy. Love between people implies long-term loyalty to each other.
In the Bible, we’re told that God “lavishes” his love on us. His love for us has width and length and height and depth (Ephesians 3:18). It’s not a whim that fades or passes, but will continue to eternity, despite our failings, apathy or disinterest. He continues to love us no matter what.
God desires for us to receive his love into our hearts and lives, which enables us to love him in return. We don’t love him out of duty or compulsion because that isn’t love. True love is freely given and freely received. We love God as a response to knowing he loves us. God won’t be satisfied until we receive his love. He will continue to pursue and woo us seeking a response.
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