Earlier this month we discussed Mark 12:30. It’s a verse that even those not well versed in the Bible likely are familiar with:
“thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” Mark 12:30
Many of us who love God believe we are doing so with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. But when we are really honest with ourselves, we find that we fall short in at least one area.
Still others don’t really know what it looks like to love like this. This week we focus on one area, loving the Lord thy God with all thy heart.
What does it mean to love God with all your heart?
Well…what does it mean to love anything with all your heart? Have you ever been there? If you’re married then you likely know this feeling (or you did at one time at least).
When we first make that commitment to really love our husbands, we’re all in. We want to know everything about him, hear every word he speaks, and likely have a long list of things about him we really want to know.
We also want to talk to him. We want to tell him all about ourselves–how we’ve been doing, what our plans are, and we even seek to know what he thinks about us and our plans.
And perhaps at some point, we just want to give and give to him–cook his dinner, make him a special card, write him an encouraging note–and don’t expect anything in return.
I hope you married ladies keep this kind of love for your entire marriage.
We can love God this way too.
The way we love our husbands with all our hearts when we’re in that truly-madly-deeply place is the same way we can love God with all our hearts.
Do you desire to know everything about Him, and hear every word He speaks? Do you have a list (or have you in the past) of things you really want to know about Him?
Do you desire to talk to Him? Are you comfortable and compelled to tell Him how you’re doing, what your plans are, and then seek His opinion on what your plans are? Do you know what He thinks about you? How you are deeply loved?
Have you ever desired to do things just because it would please Him–and not expect anything in return?
What does this kind of love look like?
Seeking God’s every opinion and wanting to know everything about Him is done in two ways. It’s done by reading the words He wrote for us so many years ago. And it’s done by listening for the times He speaks to us.
Are you driven to know everything that’s in your bible? Once a year? Twice a year? Monthly? Every Sunday? Every day? Are you reviewing this information over and over like a love letter left to you from you husband who has been gone to war for a year? How deep is your desire?
Women often ask me how often they should read their bibles. My answer is this, “How often do you want to listen to the words your husband (or future husband) has to say to you?” Perhaps you aren’t in that truly-madly stage anymore when your heart was completely occupied with him–but try to remember that time. How often did you desire to know him? His thoughts? His passions for the future?
How about talking to him? In your early stages of preoccupied thoughts of your man, how often did you want to talk to him? Call him? Text him? Email him?
Do you desire to talk to God this way? Are you in prayer on a regular basis?
Happily married? How often do you desire to speak to your husband? To have him hear you? To seek his opinions?
The Lord is no different ladies. He loves you–you are His bride. He wants to hear from you on a regular basis.
Are you speaking to Him?
Do you do things to please Him without expecting anything in return? This can be trickier to evaluate.
I had to sit down with a piece of paper and take some notes when asking myself this recently. What do I do to please Him, and only Him? After that list was made, I had to ask myself, Did I do anything on this list with my heart desiring any type of reward or favor?
This wasn’t an easy list to make or evaluation to do.
But let’s be honest, Jesus doesn’t need us to do anything for Him. And there is no favor from him to be bought or earned.
Just like cooking a favorite meal for my husband with the deal made in my heart that I will get something out of my hard work isn’t loving my husband with all my heart (since in this situation my heart would be “loving” me,); doing something “for” Jesus whilst expecting something in return is not an act of love for Him, as much as a selfish act for myself (in my heart at least).
Loving God takes on all kinds of acts and forms. But if we desire to love Him with all our heart, we need to talk to Him because we desire Him to hear us. We need to listen to Him both in our quiet meditation time as well as time spent reading our Bibles.
And the things we do to please Him should be just that–to please Him–with no other selfish goals in mind.
These are not easy tasks.
As you recall in the first article in this series, I was caught off guard and convicted when I really thought about what this means.
We can be walking around as saved Christians, loving God and living our lives, without giving Him all of our hearts. In fact, I dare say most of us do. I’m guilty certainly.
A former pastor of mine once suggested if you aren’t in a regular pattern of prayer, to pick something you do every day as a reminder prompt. He gives the example that at 12 years old, he started to pray every day while he was taking a shower. As it became a habit for him, he then added other times.
Don’t have the time? Make the time. Find a regular place and time to meet with Jesus. Perhaps you get up 5 minutes early and take your coffee outside for a short walk and talk to Jesus while you watch the birds and check the flowers.
I have a rocking chair in my room that only gets used when I’m able to step away from life and get there by myself. My husband is very good to make sure I get a regular meeting time with the Lord where I can just talk and listen to Him.
Have a hard time reading your bible often or don’t know how to stay focused? I love the One Year Bibles (affiliate link) that divide up your reading into 15 minutes a day, and in one year, you have read your bible. I try to get through my bible once every year. There are many to choose from (and as I write this, I see the pink one–which I paid $25 for is currently $12). I just ordered an imitation leather bound one today for this year as my other is nearly falling apart. (I got one for a fiend too–I hope to surprise her with it before she reads this.)
If you sit down with a piece of paper and find that you can’t list anything you like to do just to please the Lord as your special gift to Him, please don’t be discouraged. I firmly believe if you are talking to Him and listening to Him regularly and often, these opportunities to express your love in other ways will make their way into your life. Just be patient.
Be sure to subscribe in the upper right-hand side of the page or remember to come back when we discuss what it means to love the Lord with all our souls, all our minds, and all our strengths. It’s about to get a whole lot deeper Friends.
What are some ways you’ve thought about to love God with all your heart?