Week 1- Love Matters Most

Week 1 – 1/10/16

Love the Lord your God with all your Heart

What does it mean to love the Lord your God with all your heart? In Psalm 86, David prays, “…give me an undivided heart”. This brings with it the thought of single-mindedness, an all-consuming passion, nothing competing in our hearts to keep us from loving the Lord. This also closely relates to, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3) Are our hearts divided?

What do we spend our time thinking about? Is it our first love, the Lord Jesus Christ? (Or how we can serve Him?) Or do we spend most of our time thinking about our worldly passions – work, money, sports (Go Dawgs!), fashion or other materialistic pursuits…or simply another person? To have an undivided heart takes work! Just like a marriage, we must give continual attention to our relationship with the Lord. Moment by moment we walk through our days with Him, always looking for what He is doing, sending up prayers, listening for His voice, and staying alert for His blessings and opportunities.

To love the Lord with all your heart means opening yourself to Him fully. Psalm 62 says, “…pour out your hearts to Him”. With Him we hold nothing back. We give Him the good, the bad, and the ugly. We seek His grace and mercy. We offer ourselves as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1) to be used for His glory. Even when we are walking through difficult circumstances, it means trusting Him that they are all for good and that somehow He will be glorified through them.

To love the Lord with all your heart means looking for the good in others. It means reaching out to someone in need or who is hurting. Sometimes it means inconveniencing yourself to be His hands and feet in a particular situation (putting another person’s needs above your own). It means loving unconditionally and full of grace and mercy for everyone He puts in front of you.

To love the Lord with all your heart means obeying His commands (“He who loves me will obey My commands” – John 14:21, 15:10-14). Sometimes it is not that we don’t want to obey Him, but sometimes we can be very slow in responding! And so we fail. The Good News is that love covers a multitude of sins! (1 Peter 4:8) We are not perfect creatures, but God’s grace is greater than all our sins and He has given us a Redeemer and Holy Substitute. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). For those who are in Christ, when God looks at us, He sees Jesus Christ in us and He loves us completely. He knows the motives of our hearts, every thought, every word before it is on our lips, and yet in His great love for us He forgives us. We receive HIS righteousness (we cannot do it on our own, Romans 3:21-24).

The command of Christ is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. But we can’t. Not with all our heart. Not even on our “best” day. We fail in some way every day. So how do we live up to the command? We live up to it by trusting in Christ, knowing and trusting that HE has fulfilled this command and all the laws perfectly on our behalf. Jesus loved God with all His heart, soul, mind, and strength when He was on earth, and He continues to do so. He intercedes for us as well. So when we fail – and we do and will every day – we can cast ourselves on His mercy and love, confess our failure, and ask His forgiveness. And being strengthened again by the Good News that we are forgiven in Christ, we are free again; and free to love the Lord more deeply.

By His grace and mercy, and out of His great love for us, He redeems our wayward and divided hearts.