Jesus stated that the greatest commandment was to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. I believe this means that we are to love God with everything within us, with everything that we are, nothing held back. So why is it so difficult for us to consistently love God this way?
I believe it has to do with our perception of who God is. Most of us were raised to fear God, that God was just waiting for us to do something “bad” so he could punish us in some way. That God was an angry, punitive, judgmental God. And if this is your view of God, it makes sense that you would struggle to love God for you would always be fearful of doing something that could cause him to pull his love away from you. When you are being “good” you believe he approves of you so you can love God, but when you are being “bad” you believe he disapproves of you so you pull away from God.
Humans have a way of projecting God into their image. Because we are shown conditional love on earth, we assume God is the same way with his love. Then we make the mistake of assuming that God is a person, a man, a human like us, therefore thinks and feels like we do. Reality is God is a spirit, an energy of love and is nothing like a human being/body. God is the highest form of love, the Bible states that there is no fear in God. And if there is no fear in God, God is incapable of doing something to instill fear in you. Fear does not exist in the higher realms, it is a man made feeling relegated to planet earth. God has given us free will, the ability to make whatever choices we want. And while there is no punishment from God for our choices, there are natural consequences that come from our choices. If you choose not to study for a test, there is a good chance you may not pass it. If you choose to be mean to people, you may have a difficult time keeping good friends. If you invest your money wisely, you will receive more money. If you drive drunk, you could cause harm to yourself or others. God’s love for you is the same regardless of whether your choices are good or bad. God’s love is continuously shining on you, it is impossible to turn it off but you can choose to refuse to receive it.
The only fear we are to have toward God is one of reverence, awe and gratitude for who God is and his great love for us. When you have this kind of reverential fear toward God you want to be in his presence because you understand his unconditional love is just that, unconditional. There is nothing you could ever say or do to cause him to love you any less or more than he does right now. Therefore, you feel safe in his presence and can relax and allow a loving relationship to develop and flourish between the two of you every day, regardless of what is going on in your life. And when you have this kind of a loving relationship between the two of you, the desire to do evil, bad, selfish, harmful things to yourself or others, fades away. When you are living from love, these things lose their appeal. Therefore, you choose to do good, not because you fear God’s punishment if you do not, but because you are so filled with God’s love, you have no desire for ‘bad” anymore.