Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
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If you’ve ever been deeply in love with someone, you likely remember how your first weeks, months, and perhaps years were consumed with thoughts of that person. Your constant desire was to be with them and to please them. You would reminisce about your last moments together and look forward to your next connection. You were literally obsessed…in a good way!
Sadly, over time we can become complacent and take for granted that all-consuming love we once felt and expressed to the object of our affection. Having been married almost 38 years, I know the ups and downs of love. But…wouldn’t it be amazing if we could keep that love alive both with humans and with our Creator? We can, but it takes diligent effort that transcends our fluctuating feelings.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world,
and we can take nothing out of it. 1 Timothy 6: 6,7
Godliness in essence is an obsession with God.
We can be obsessed with so many things – many of them of little value – some very damaging. But being completely sold out and solely focused on God and His purposes is the reason we exist. As the scripture above infers, our contentment is so much more that acquiring success or accumulating wealth and comfort. We were created to for a love relationship with God and with each other. I’ve learned the painful lesson of how empty life can be when that pursuit is not my top priority.
Because we are easily distracted and imperfect human “doings”, our desire to love God with all our being often gets sidetracked because of the cares of this world – that is our daily life. Purposing to love God fully will be a constant tug-o-war this side of heaven, but it is worth the effort.
God wants absolutely all of us – not just a portion.
Like a husband who is unwilling to share the intimacy of his wife with another – God demands our entire heart. When we give it to Him, we experience a love so deep that it overflows to others in the purest, most authentic form which in turn builds deeper intimacy with those who love us and greater compassion for those who don’t.
Understanding what God desires (commands) of us is the easy part. Mark 12:30 above was originally written in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, quoted by Jesus, and recorded in all the gospels. It is a common thread throughout the entire Bible. God wants us to love Him with our entire being. The hard part is learning how to love Him authentically and fully.
To love someone with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength, you must know them intimately by spending time with them and sharing your heart as well. We can know God deeply by reading His love letter to us – the Bible. We can spend intimate time with Him in prayer and practicing His presence in our life. The Holy Spirit will testify that God is near and animate His Word in your life. Over time, you will grow in love and dependence on the only One who will never leave or forsake you.
I’ve learned in my seven decades of life that we make time for what is most important to us. We may say otherwise, but we really do. If our child becomes ill and must be rushed to the hospital, we drop everything and give her our total attention. All the cares of the world become small in comparison to the immediate situation. God wants that kind of attention from us all the time. It seems an impossible request, and it is…in our own power. However, with God all things are possible. If He asks something of us, it means He will do His part to make it come to pass. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” And 1John 4:19 says that “We love because He first loved us.”
God has and is doing His part every moment of every day. The question is: Will we do our part? We won’t do it perfectly or nearly as consistently as He desires, but we press on toward the goal by drawing near to Him, surrendering our hearts and minds, seeking him through prayer and meditation, and study His word to better comprehend the depths of His love for us. We will know we are growing in love for Him as we begin to crave more and more intimate time with Him, not only in our quiet times, but in the mundane details of everyday life.
To know that you actually desire my love is so amazing. I want to give you all of me and yet I fail so often because I put “me” first on “You” second, third, and even fourth sometimes. Please forgive me for my selfishness and draw me near to you in my feeble attempts. Help me love you in a way that honors you and puts you first.
Take a few moments – right now ideally but later if you must – and ask God what He most wants you to receive from today’s devotion. Journal what He is speaking to your heart. What is He saying about your priorities or your busyness? (I’ll be completely transparent. I (Danna) wrote this and I am deeply convicted! I want to grow in this area of my life so much more!)