The bread crumbs back.
So we are arguing that the dominant characteristic of God for the Wesleyan tradition, at least in terms of how he relates to the creation, is love rather than justice. We are arguing that God wants everyone to be saved but as sovereign king has decided not to force anyone to be saved. We are arguing that even when he acts in judgment he primarily does so in hope of redemption--as discipline rather than retribution. Christians do believe that God can and does act in final judgment, without hope of redemption, but surely this is an act of final recourse for God, one he would prefer not to do.
Our obligation in return is to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind" (Matt. 22:37). This is the absolute of absolutes in Christian ethics, one of the two great absolute commands of the Christian life, and indeed, the second actually folds into this first one. If we love God we will also love our neighbor. There are no exceptions to these two principles. There is no circumstance where God would have us not love him or not love our neighbor.
At the same time, the question of how to love God can quickly become rather nebulous ground. Indeed, it would be easy for a Christian to twist this command in order to violate God's will. 1 John says, "The love of God is this, that we obey his commandments" (1 John 5:3). Ah, but what are his commandments, says the interpreter, who then goes on to load the first commandment with all sorts of things that violate the second commandment, to justify hatred of one's neighbor.
So let us be clear: love of God will never contradict love of neighbor. The Parable of the Good Samaritan bids us love our neighbor (Luke 10:25-37). Jesus bids us love our enemy (Matt. 5:43-48). No one is left. Any application of Scripture or any Christian system of thought that tries to justify hatred of people, is in conflict with the first and second great commandment. Love of God can never be used to justify love of neighbor. We can hate injustice. We can hate certain ideas. We can hate sin. But we must act in love toward all people.
Here it is perhaps important to say that love in the Bible is not a matter of feeling or emotion. Love has to do with the way we act toward others, both mentally and especially concretely. We can be angry at another person and yet not sin in our thoughts or actions (Eph. 4:26). We can thus even be angry at God and not sin as well (cf. Ps. 13:1). Indeed, if we act in love toward God and others long enough, our feelings will eventually change to follow suit
To love God with all our heart is to "do everything for the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31). It is to live according to Colossians 3:17: "whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." John Wesley and the Wesleyan tradition have historically had a very optimistic view of the degree to which the Holy Spirit wants to empower a believer to love God. Wesley called it "Christian perfection" and his followers "entire sanctification." The Wesleyan tradition has taken very seriously the word "everything" in these two verses.
We can debate whether that focus on "everything" became unhealthy at times, leading the introspective Wesley to wonder if he was even a Christian in a moment of doubt late in life. We split hairs with others over minute questions like whether the sin principle inside us could be entirely eradicated or only suppressed. We will briefly return to this background in the section below on Christian faithfulness. Our personal sense is that these were areas where the Wesleyan "system" itself led us down unprofitable paths.
To love God, however, boils down to our choices, both in our minds and actions. And to love God in everything means that we have no idols, that we have "no other gods before God" (e.g., Exod. 20:3-4). To love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength is for us never to make a choice with our mind or body that gives greater loyalty to something or someone else other than God.
A distinctive of the Wesleyan tradition is our optimism about the degree to which God wants to empower us to fulfill this principle through the power of the Holy Spirit. We think a believer might from this day forward consistently, perhaps even without exception, act in this way in mind and body for the rest of their lives--and do so with joy. This is the essence of what our tradition has meant by entire sanctification.