“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart…” Luke 10:27
It’s that time of year to start shopping for that special someone in your life, or for others, to start avoiding any place carrying pink heart-shaped items. Inevitably, February seems to be linked to Valentine’s Day – the day of love, the day closely associated with the heart.
In scripture, the heart is pictured as the seat of our emotion, passion, and affection. Because our emotions can be fickle, scripture also says the heart is deceitful above all else and not to trust it. Since we are flawed human beings, it is difficult to fully love others as we should.
Praise God He sent His Son to redeem us and make us righteous. And that fickle, heart of yours? Jesus wants ALL of our hearts to redeem, restore, and reflect His love. We exist to convey His love to a lost and searching world that has defined love in a different way, and we represent God’s heart best when we have surrendered ALL of our emotions, passions, and affections to Jesus.
So what does it look like to love the Lord our God with all our hearts? Jesus said the mark of someone who loves the Lord with all his or her heart is marked by a single word: obedience. If we love the Lord, we want to be obedient, we desire to cultivate a relationship with Him, and we long for our hearts to overflow with that kind of love toward others.
Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will…
- Feed My sheep (John 21:15-17)
- Love My word (1 John 2:5)
- Keep My commandments (1 John 5:3)
- Love your enemies (Luke 6:35)
- Love your neighbor (Mark 12:32, Romans 13:10)
- Be patient, kind, tender-hearted, forgiving, etc. (1 Cor. 13:4-8)
- Bear with one another (Ephesians 4:2)
- Sacrifice (John 15:13, 1 John 3:16-18)
If every believer loved this way, imagine how it could change relationships with spouses, children, friends, coworkers, and even strangers. But it requires giving all of our hearts to a God who gave His all for us in the form of His Son.
Jesus’ kind of love doesn’t depend on how we feel. In fact to love Him requires that we not love ourselves and our expectations, but instead love others without expectation. His kind of love is sacrificial and unconditional and totally impossible for us to model if He doesn’t have all of us.
Jesus says if you love Him, you will love others, which makes you love Him more. The cycle continues until loving others becomes second nature and loving God with all our hearts becomes our primary aim in life. How we love Him with our hearts will reflect in how we love others.
The world says, “if you love me, you will do something for me.” Jesus says, “If you love me, you will love others.” When this is true, as you go to pick out those Valentine’s gifts this month, you’ll love deeper, stronger, and more selflessly than you have in the past. You’ll think in terms of serving rather than being served, giving rather than receiving. When we love Jesus with ALL our hearts, it changes how we love others and it makes us love Him more.
Written by the First Dallas Staff