Imagine for a moment what it looks like for you to love God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all our strength and with all your mind. What do your neighbors, co workers, friends, immediate and extended family see? Does your life look any different in your imagination as it appears in your day-to-day life experiences? For me, there is a clear distinction from my life before I accepted Jesus as my savior and my life after my conversion. But, that’s not what I am really talking about. I am honestly evaluating my life against the lens of who I am for God. I am frankly asking myself how can others tell that I love God? More importantly how do I see in my core that I truly love God with all my heart, soul, strength and mind? Does my life reflect my deep love for Yahweh in ways that are profound?
Just last week I thought I could squeeze into my already packed day a quick workout at the gym. I was trying to manage my mental to do list with limited time to really get the things done that I sought to accomplish. When things were not going the way I anticipated I began to spiral into a frazzled and frustrated form of myself. Have you ever been there? My heart was distracted and my mind in chaos and yet God in His perfect timing corrected me, gently and lovingly in the form of service. I was rushing down the hall and a woman rushed by me even more frazzled than myself. She was really in need of help. And she needed that help immediately.
Two things were evident: no one else was available and this was not the kind of help that would be easy. She needed the type of help that requires time, effort, compassion and love. So there it was friends, the profound moment when my own timetable became irrelevant and God pressed upon my heart to love my neighbor as myself. I was obedient to His prompting. These revelations help me to see that I really am different. “But, if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in Him. Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:5-6 Only through the Father may I have the heart and strength to love extravagantly. Loving God with my all my heart, soul, strength and mind looks like Jesus and how He calls us to live everyday.
The process in which we grow more like Jesus has a fancy word, sanctification. As we grow in our faith and in our disciplines we embody the word Christian- which from this past weekend’s sermon means to be little Christ. I move forward in my growth in my relationships with the people whom God places in my life. I find that with the form of grouping I can love God in ways I never would have imagined a decade ago or even just a few years ago. But, in stepping out to look more like Jesus I am surrounded by many who are doing the same thing. Growing in profound ways that show others that the church isn’t a building but the bride. My groups challenge me to speak truthfully, walk faithfully and love the church in beautiful ways.
I will add for the sake of transparency that I am hesitant to admit how often I find myself caught up in things that don’t feed my soul and distract my mind. The things of this world that tie up valuable bandwidth, things such as my never ending laundry, my constant drive to declutter our home and my desire to be productive and seen as worthy. All of the chaos created by me or thrust upon me robs me of opportunities to just love God with my soul and with my mind. I tend to become preoccupied by circumstances and not what truly matters, which is HIM. As I am growing in my spiritual disciplines I do find myself more and more stopping to sit in His presence. I regroup my scattered thinking and rest in HIM. I pause to revel in His abundant blessings.(John 10:10) I am sustained as the Lord draws near to me when I cease to run ahead of Him or lag behind Him but instead choose to rest in Him. How do I do this? Like Dan suggested in his teaching on the topic, I come to HIM and glorify my Father in Heaven. I have my go to scriptures that recalibrate me back onto the narrow way. I sing songs of praise. I call out to Him and in my pleas for mercy He feeds my soul and calms my mind. I confess, repent and love Him with all my heart, soul, strength and mind. And in those moments of honest and heartfelt devotion I discover I am loving God in profound ways.