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The Primacy of Loving God: The Missing Ingredient in Discipleship

Mechtild of Magdeburg, d. 1280

“Lord, you are my lover, the object of my desire.”4


Thomas Bradwardine, d. 1349

“My God, I love you above all else, and I desire to end my life with you. Always and in all things with my whole heart and strength I seek you. … Grant, therefore, most gracious God, that I may always love you for your own sake more than anything else, and seek you always in and everywhere in this present life, so that at the last I may find you and for ever hold fast to you in the life to come.”5


Thomas à Kempis, d. 1471

“Blessed is he who appreciates what it is to love Jesus and who despises himself for the sake of Jesus. Give up all other love for His, since He wishes to be loved alone above all things … Love Him, then; keep Him as a friend … He wants your heart for Himself alone, to be enthroned therein as King in His own right….How foolish and vain if you desire anything but Him! … Life without Him is a relentless hell, but living with Him is a sweet paradise.”6


Francis De Sales, d. 1622

“Genuine, living devotion…is simply true love of God.”7


A.W. Tozer, d. 1963

“Orthodox Christianity has fallen to its present low estate from lack of spiritual desire. Among the many who profess the Christian faith scarcely one in a thousand reveals any passionate thirst for God.”8

“Yet for all God’s good will toward us He is unable to grant our heart’s desires till all our desires have been reduced to one.”9

“But it is wholly impossible to love the unknown. There must be some degree of experience before there can be any degree of love. Perhaps this accounts for the coldness toward God and Christ evidenced by the average Christian. How can we love a Being whom we have not heard nor felt nor experienced? We may work up some kind of reverence for the noble ideals the thought of God brings to our minds; we may feel a certain awe when we think of the high and holy One that inhabiteth eternity; but what we feel is hardly love. It is rather an appreciation of the sublime, a response of the heart to the mysterious and the grand. It is good and desirable, but it is not love.”10

“It is part of my belief that God wants to get us to a place where we would still be happy if we had only Him!”11


A growing love and passion for God will consume a believer more than anything.

Today however, most discipleship methods and books admonish believers to do things that are vital to Christian life and growth. We’re told that doing those various activities will help us to mature as believers, help us against sin, make us better stewards, enhance our marriages, and so on.

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Category: Living the Faith, Winter 2010

About the Author: Frank A. DeCenso, Jr. is the author of Presence Powered Living: Building a Life of Intimacy and Partnership with God (Vineyard International Publishers). He is also the compiler of the multi-author compendiums Amazed by the Power of God, and God’s Supernatural Power in You from Destiny Image Publishers. Frank and his wife Denise reside in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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