Written by Morgan Fulton:
Three times in the Gospels, Jesus is asked what the most important commandment is. He answers, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” This command has always made me pause and ask the question, “How do I love God with all of my heart?” I don’t even know what it looks like to love anything with all of my heart.
In Proverbs 23, we see a clue as to how we can love God with all of our heart...
12 Apply your heart to instruction
and your ears to words of knowledge.
26 My son, give me your heart
and let your eyes delight in my ways,
Some key words I see in these verses are apply, instruction, and delight. So how do we achieve loving God with our whole hearts? Let’s put these words into action!
This is the first word we see in these scriptures and really one of the most important. I think that it is very easy for us to know what God wants for us and the lifestyle He wants us to lead. It becomes harder when we try to apply all we know to our lives. Something that I have always struggled with through my walk with Jesus is self-control. This expresses itself in the “small” decisions of my life. Whether it is grabbing that McDonalds too many times in a month, or indulging in too much screen time, or even hitting that snooze button for the 3rd time, I struggle to operate in self-control. I used to think these “little” vices weren’t so bad, but when I think about the mandate to APPLY my heart to instruction, I know it speaks to a bigger issue. In all things, we must make the choice to APPLY God’s instruction and wisdom to our lives. This unwavering obedience gives evidence to our true love of God.
In order to apply God’s instruction, we need to know God’s instruction. How do we know God’s instruction? The easiest way to be sure is to read His Word. It really is as simple as that. Reading God’s Word is absolutely vital to anyone who wants to love God fully. The Word teaches you about God, teaches you the voice of God, teaches you the commands of God, AND teaches you your purpose in God. Without His Word, we are simply spiritually blind. His Word gives us clear direction for our lives and helps us to follow Him faithfully. The Psalmist says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” We have to know His word so deeply that it becomes a part of who we are. A natural outflow from our spirit.
In the quest for loving God with our whole heart, we cannot stop at just knowing His Word and applying it. We have to DELIGHT in His ways and instruction. I think of myself as a typical rule follower. I will literally follow rules that make no sense. I am very slow to challenge authority and bend the rules. That gives me hives just thinking about it! There were certain rules in my household growing up that I would never break, but I would constantly grumble to myself and others about them. One of those rules was the dreaded dishes. I was in charge of washing the dishes for the whole house. Everyday, my parents expected to see a clean sink at the end of the day no matter what. I HATED it! But you better believe that I dragged myself downstairs to clean those dishes every night. The problem is, the whole time, I would be in a bad attitude and grumble to myself about it. I’m pretty sure my parents did not feel validated in my love for them while I was washing the dishes. When I think back on it now, I see how selfish and spoiled I was. My parents provided everything I ever needed unconditionally and with joy. The least I could do would be to honor their sacrifice and provision by helping out with dishes. Similarly, we should delight in the honor of applying God’s wisdom and instruction to our lives. He has promised us all we need to have a full and abundant life. The great thing is, He always keeps his promises. What a joy it is to follow Him with reckless abandon. We are assured a life of fullness on the other side!
My question for you today is, what is holding you back from loving God with all your heart?