“Do what you want?”

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“Ama et quod vis fac” It’s Latin and it sounds cool. Better is what it means and who said it. In English, it’s Love, and do what you want!” It was written by Aurelius Augustine (St. Augustine).

A casual look at Augustine’s words sounds a lot like a “license.” License to do whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it. All I have to do is give a “quick nod” to love in some generic way and then I can do whatever comes to my mind and heart. However, if you look at the history of the quote, you’ll find that the complete quote is actually, Love God, and do what you want. Now that’s a little different. No, it’s a lot different.

Since God is the author of love, it sets the proper context of the statement. Loving God necessitates knowing Him on a deep level, and that knowledge begins with understanding Him. That critical information is found in the Bible. It may sound simplistic, but to know Him is to love Him.

Loving God means putting Him first. When Jesus was asked what is the MOST IMPORTANT command in all of Scripture He said, “The one that says, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only God.  And you must love him with all your heart and soul and mind and strength.’ “The second is: ‘You must love others as much as yourself.’ No other commandments are greater than these.”  Mark 12:30-31  It’s an unbroken, priority love. It means making daily decisions that don’t allow things to crowd that priority. It also means to desire Him, to want to do what is right. “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God” Psalm 42:1.

When my wife and I were dating in college, I traveled to Track and Field meets all over the country. Somehow, she would always get a hold of my travel bag before I got on the bus. She would hide letters in the bag with days of the week marked outside each envelope. I can tell you, I could hardly wait to open those letters, often laced with perfume, so all my teammates knew I was loved by someone special (even though they would give me a hard time.) Because I loved her, I was HIGHLY motivated to open each letter to see what she wrote. The same is true with our love for God. He loves us and has written His letters to us. I love Him and I’m eager to read what He has to say to me.

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