"How Do I Know If I Love God?"

I had been a follower of Jesus for just a few years. I just left a campus ministry event, and a thought hit me, "How do I know if I really love God?" It's easy for me say that I love and trust Him, but what would help me know that my faith is real?

Hello, my name is Joey, and I'm an over-analyzer.

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I went to a friend for counsel, which was something to the effect of "a tree is known by its fruit" (Luke 6:43-45). That is, my love for God is evidenced by the good works that He was working in me. I wasn't completely satisfied with this, thinking there should be more, or at least more specifics. I walked away feeling a tension, though I could not fully express it.

But I think that tension is good. I think it was a sign of my flesh and my spirit at war. And my flesh and my spirit can only be at war if God's spirit is in me. If it was just my own flesh and thoughts, I wouldn't be concerned about loving God at all.

Part of my mistake was not understanding that salvation is more than just an event. It is about a lifelong process. God is continually working in my heart -- to help me believe in, follow, and love Him.

Here is what I recently read that made me think about this. It sure would have been helpful 13 years ago, but it's still good for all of us today. It's called How Do We Know If We Love Christ?, and gives eight "fruit" that would be evident in one who loves God. Of course, these "fruit" don't guarantee that one is a true disciple, but they are an indication.

So, how do you know if you really love God? Maybe you can't. But I'm not sure it matters anyway. In Mere Christianity, CS Lewis writes:
Do not sit trying to manufacture feelings. Ask yourself, 'If I were sure that I loved God, what would I do?' When you have found the answer, go and do it.

What do you think? Can you know if you love God? How?

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  1. If those fruits are recognized as evident in the reader's mind how does that not guarantee their identity as a disciple?

    1. Good point, but I wouldn't rely totally on one's own assessment of oneself. The Bible teaches that our hearts are deceptive and inclined towards self-preservation. This is a question that requires insight from trusted and godly mentors and friends.

  2. Great blog. Sometimes it is really heard to tell if we love God or not.