[A Pharisees asked Jesus:] "Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?"
Jesus replied, "'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment."
— Matthew 22:36-38 NLT
Total love. That's what God wants. Anything less is not acceptable. Total love.
Total love is different from total obedience. While obedience is important and necessary, even if sometimes we don't understand why, it is not love. Obedience can show love, but it can also show fear. If we love God, we will obey him.
Total love is also different from total knowledge, which we will never have anyway (1 Corinthians 13:12). Knowledge is good. Knowledge can lead us to know more about God. But knowledge can never replace loving God. If we love God, we will be able to know him.
Total love is not feeling good about God. Some things that love asks us to do are not fun and do not leave us feeling good. But love does help us develop deep feelings for God — heart, soul, mind and strength. Jesus wants total love. Love from our emotions. Love from our spirits. Love from our knowledge. Love in our physical actions. Love that reaches in and combines all of who we are and hope to be. Love for God is eternal. It joins us to the King of Ages in joyful appreciation of all he has done for us, is doing through us, and will do for us in the future.