“Sixteen Reasons Why I Love You” was a hit song in the 1960s, written by Bill and Doree Post in 1959. The song was made famous by Connie Stevens in 1960, her second top-forty hit after “Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb.” If we can find sixteen reasons to love any person, shouldn’t we be able to give as many reasons to love God?
Moses gave the Israelites ten commandments, and one of them stands above the rest. Jesus said loving God is the most important of all commandments (Matthew 22:36–37). Why? Because our salvation depends upon it.
A man came to Jesus, saying, “What must I do to have eternal life?”
Jesus didn’t say, “It’s God’s free gift. You don’t have to do anything.” He didn’t say, “Repent and sin no more. Then you will be saved.” He didn’t say, “Confess that I am God’s son who will die for your sins. Just believe, and you’ll be saved.” After keeping all the commandments of Moses’ Law, the man lacked one thing, which came in three parts. Jesus said he needed to (1) sell everything he had, (2) give to the poor, and (3) come follow him. Why did he say that?
Unless I’m willing to give up all my attachments, even my own life, I can’t be his disciple. To follow him, Jesus said I must “take up my cross.” In other words, I must be willing to give up everything. That’s love.
As I listened to the “Sixteen Reasons” song,” I knew I should love God more than anything. So I accepted the challenge to list that many reasons why I love him. The easy part was thanking him for all his gifts, but wait. If I love God only for the gifts, I might worship the gift more than the giver. That’s idolatry. I had to do some deep soul-searching to find words for how much God means to me.
Saying, “I love you, God,” is easy. Christians think and sing such words all the time. But can we write sixteen reasons, being specific about why? I took a month to write my sixteen. What are yours?
While Jesus walked along the road, a man ran up and knelt before him. “Most excellent Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus looked at him with love in his eyes. “You lack one thing. Go and sell everything you own, and give the money to the poor. You will have treasure in Heaven and can follow me.” After hearing this, he walked away sad, because he was very wealthy. — Mark 10:17, 21–22, The Discussion Bible
My Sixteen Reasons
- Loves me.
Because God first loved us, we have no excuse for not loving him. — 1 John 4:1
- Gives me what I need, not what I want.
Out of his glorious resources in Christ Jesus, my God will take care of everything you need. — Philippians 4:19
- Shares the burdens I cannot bear alone.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn to walk my way, for I am gentle and humble of heart. In me, you will find rest for your souls, because my yoke fits and your share of the load is light. — Matthew 11:29
- Demands of me more than I can do.
In all situations, no matter how little or how much I have, I must depend on Christ for my strength and guidance. — Philippians 4:13
- Raises my feeling of self-worth by using me for good.
To fulfill God’s purpose before the world began, we were saved by grace and called to good works in Christ Jesus. — 2 Timothy 1:9
- Brings peace in the midst of the storm.
You don’t have to worry about anything. In prayer and praise, express your desire to God, surrendering to his will, and his peace, which the world cannot understand, will bring calm reassurance through Christ Jesus that everything will be all right. — Philippians 4:6
- Walks with me and talks with me. Everywhere.
As I walk through the most trying times of my life, a dark valley of the shadow of death, I still don’t have to fear, because you’re at my side. Like a shepherd who protects his lambs, your rod and your staff keep me safe. — Psalm 23:4
- Makes me better all the time.
Like someone looking into a mirror, when we see the Lord in the glory of the new contract, we become more like him, being changed from glory to greater glory by the work of his Spirit. — 2 Corinthians 3:18
- Recalculates when I take a wrong turn.
Even if we choose not to believe, he still loves us, because he cannot deny who he is. — 2 Timothy 2:13
- Knows where I’m going, and I don’t.
God knows where he is taking me, and when the tests are over, my value will be like pure gold. — Job 23:10
- Lets me experience God’s love, not just receive his gifts.
No person has ever seen God face-to-face. But if we love others, we have him living within us and his love finds its full expression through us. — 1 John 4:12
- Feels my pain.
As Jesus saw her crying and saw the Jews also crying, he was deeply distressed in his spirit. — John 11:33
- Saves me from death.
While we were God’s enemies, we were welcomed as if we were his friends, given life through the death of his Son. — Romans 5:10
- Makes me to be like him.
Beloved, we may be God’s children, but we don’t yet know what we will become. But the more of him we see, the more we’ll want to be like him, for we shall see how great he really is. — 1 John 3:2
- Adopts me into his family.
In seeing us alienated from him, through his good pleasure in Jesus Christ he sought to adopt us into his family. — Ephesians 1:5
- Makes the impossible possible.
When Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, God sent a strong east wind all night to divide the waters and leave dry land in between. With a wall of water on their right and left, the children of Israel crossed the middle of the sea on dry ground. — Exodus 14:21–22