Love With All Your…

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”

–Luke 10:27

Really, Lord? Because we know our hearts, and they are deceitful above all things. Our souls are constantly warring with the flesh. Strength, to us, is less preferable than weakness in you. And our minds? Our minds are so easily led astray.

It seems like our ability to love God is measly and miserable. To do so with our whole person seems to add up to very little.

Praise the Lord that He is glorified by and delights in our love- even if our love is far from perfect!

So loving is He that:

  1. He Guards the HEART We Are to Love Him With

Though our hearts are wild and rebellious, the Lord guards them. He works to protect our hearts from further corruption. He is intent on giving us pure hearts, washing them clean through Christ. Scripture also says He replaces our hearts of stone with hearts with hearts of flesh.

  1. He Redeems the SOUL So That We Can Love Him Personally

Apart from Christ, we would have no way to love God in a personal relationship. But He, in loving us, sent His son to die for us. He made a way for our souls to be reconciled to Him eternally. Because of that, our wretched souls are counted free. We are called His friends and His children –and forgiven.

  1. He Gives us the STRENGTH to Love Him Always

Does it take strength to love God? Ask anyone who’s betrayed Him or sinned against Him. So, ask anyone. There is nothing in us courageous enough to perfectly stand up against the world and all of sin and say “I love God more.” But He, He can makes us able. He makes a way out of temptation. He gives us endurance and His Spirit to keep us from sin and help us to lovingly glorify Him even when we are weak.

  1. He Renews Our MIND to Love Him More Fully

Romans 12:2 tells us that if we are to live according to His Will, and even to know His Will, we are to have our minds renewed. We are to see everything in light of Him and understand ourselves, our lives, our decisions, etc., according to our newness in Christ. This complete changing of the mind to fit with His enables to love Him because it enables us to know Him.

What love is this, friends!? Our Lord loves us enough to make a way for us to love Him despite our corrupt version of love. A precious gift.

This post is being shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, and #TellHiStory

Love Others

photo from: everydaywild.com

Love your neighbor as yourself. This, we know well, is the second greatest commandment:

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” –(Matthew 22)

All other commandments are encompassed in these two. So, loving God and loving others can take a ton of different forms. Not lying is one form. Being generous is another.

But the love which Scripture tells us to have for one another is deeper than our “doing.” Truly loving others depends on our loving God, as the second commandment follows and hangs on the first. The first- love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind- is about how we are. It’s with our whole being that we are to love Him.

When we love others, it’s to flow out from that all-encompassing, defining love that we have for God. Our ability to have that love at all comes from His loving us (1 John 4:19.)

Do you see the inter-dependency here?

To love others well, we must love God with our whole being. For our whole being to love God, we must love others. For us to love at all we must experience the love of God to have love defined for and instilled in us, uprooting our corrupted version of the concept.

It’s the love of God, forceful as the ocean surging through us and shaping us like a rocky shore, that allows love to change things.

When we want our loved ones to change their minds or hearts or ways…

During the times that are tough when we long for others to grow and heal and find worth in life…

As we rejoice with others…

While we cry out in loneliness, suffering, clinging to hope…

It’s that real love that really takes affect and changes things.

We can follow endless strings of advice and wise reasoning. Our book shelves can be filled with literature on strengthening relationships, reaching those around us, and becoming more selfless. In discussion we can adopt amazing, effective strategies. When others frustrate and hurt us we can do our best to forgive and to see the good in them.

But what we really need is the love of God. What we really need, to love others, is to love the Lord and to be loved by the Lord.

His Word doesn’t say “noisy clanging cymbal” for nothing. All of our doing and trying and striving can get other’s attention. It can make noise in their life, waking them up and making waves. Without love, it never turns to music. It never gains rhythm, direction, or purpose. There is no harmony with the heart that is hearing it –without the love of God.

Start there.

As you look at others, trace your steps backwards. Step back to loving them as you do yourself, not as your style permits. One foot further, step into loving them because you love the Lord. Look to Him for the welling up inside of a more perfect love. And as you open up to be filled, step back further. Make the space for His love to be for you, too. Love because He first loved you, and that love will carry through.

This post is being shared on: #Thought-Provoking Thursday #Faith-Filled Friday, and #DanceWithJesus.

Love The Lord

Photo from: www.playbuzz.com

What does it mean to love the one who defines love?

Love was in the mind of the one who thought up and foreknew all that is. His voice boomed with love when He spoke all into being.

From the first sin of man to the day His perfect (all-loving!) son was rejected and crucified, even separated from God, love was at work. Even after that, after He was denied, abandoned, and all that He said that no man could have possibly known came true, His return was filled up and overflowing with love.

He showed His love for us by dying in our stead and rising again, even while we were His enemies.

Before and after that, the Lord’s love has also:

Been patient. Bearing with us through endless sinning and rejection and idolatry and selfishness (see: the entire Old Testament!)

Been kind. Giving every good gift, blessing us with His presence, peace, and an ability to live a righteous life.

Not envied, not boasted, not been proud, with the Lord Lording over us His perfection and power. Even when He has been jealous for us, He has done nothing to force us back to Him.

Has not dishonored anyone or been self-seeking. Has not been easily angered. He keeps no record of wrongs– offering for free to wipe all record of our sin and look on the sacrificial lamb of Christ instead!

His Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. So much so that all that is hidden, all we feel ashamed of, He redeems.

God’s love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. HIS Love never fails.

Familiar? That’s 1 Corinthians 13. That’s the example God has given us of what it is to love.

And He says to us in Matthew 22:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
This is the first and greatest commandment.”

His commandments are not impossible. Spoken and given in perfect love, the commands encompasses all others. It is as kind, patient, and compassionate as the command a parent gives their child to stay out of the road or to eat their meal. When we obey this loving command to love, we thrive. We follow God’s way –the best way.

God’s whole person is bound up in that greatest commandment –that greatest way of being. And isn’t that what all our heart, mind, and soul mean? That our whole being is to be like His by being composed wholly of love?

Think about that: to love God, we have to follow His example. Because His example is love and there is no love apart from the love He creates, defines, and exemplifies. So by loving like God loves, we love God. His love is the standard set, even for loving Him.

If you want to love God, turn your thoughts to the thoughts He has taught us. Turn your mind to the mind of Christ. Shift your heart to align with His. No greater joy is found, no greater love given or received, than to wholly give up oneself to be His.

This post is being shared on: #LifeGivingLinkup #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, and #TellHiStory.