“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart…” Luke 10:27
Once there was a guy who was madly in love with a beautiful girl. He spent time getting to know her, writing her letters, and sacrificed what was most precious to him because he wanted to give her the world. The girl loved him too, but wasn’t quite as sure. Her greatest fear held her back: could she trust him with her heart?
Many of us would look at that story and wonder what would hold her back from responding in equal measure to this guy who adored her. And yet this often tends to be our pattern with Jesus.
This guy is a picture of what Jesus did for us. We are fully known by the God who created us. He left a book compiled of love letters just for you. And then He went one step further. He sent His only Son, that which was most precious to Him, as a sacrifice so that there could be no question as to His all-consuming, unwavering love for us. And what does He want in return? He wants all of us. But this wooing and pursuing is specific. He’s after our hearts – every piece that feels broken, bruised, scarred, or even hopeful. He wants ALL of it. So how do we give the Lord all of our hearts? How do we allow Him to pursue us?
1. Receive how much He loves you.
Jeremiah 31:3 says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” For many of us, we struggle to grasp that kind of love and so withhold our hearts from the One who can be trusted. The good news is, the Lord isn’t hesitant about our fear or questions. He understands that to love Him with all our hearts is often a journey, a process. Jeremiah 29:13-14 says, “‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity…’” In this passage, the Lord is specifically talking to the Israelites, but the truth applies to us today.
Often times, our biggest hurdle in loving the Lord with all our hearts is the reality that we have given our hearts over to things other than Jesus. And anything other than Jesus, even a good thing, can hold our hearts captive from experiencing the fullness of love the Lord desires for us. Our idols keep us from loving God with ALL our hearts. But Jeremiah makes it clear that if we seek him, we will find Him, and He will free us from what holds us back.
2. Recognize your role.
Scripture uses different descriptors to explain our relationship with the Lord. All are in the context of relationship and all demonstrate the Lord’s care for us. We are…
- Children responding to a loving Father (1 John 3:1).
- Sheep cared for by a protective and dedicated Shepherd (Matt. 18:12-14).
- The bride of Christ with a groom (Christ) who sacrificed Himself for us (Eph. 5:25-27).
When we remember who we are in light of Who He is, we are more likely to love the Lord with our whole hearts because we know our hearts are safe in His care.
3. Remember you are living for eternity.
This place isn’t home. It’s so easy to forget, and it’s so difficult to even fathom eternity in heaven. Because we often closely associate our heart with our home, we have a tendency to dig our roots in here. But scripture says we are not to fall in love with our home or the things of this world.
Our hearts are to be set on eternity (2 Cor. 4:18). We must remember that Jesus and eternity with Him are our treasure. When we treasure the things of this world, we will find our hearts divided. When we treasure the things of Jesus, we will find our hearts fully engaged in loving Him and loving others more, and we will live in light of that truth.
Jesus wants your whole heart. He’s proved it time and time again. But as with any courtship, we must choose to respond, and responding is an act of faith made every day. What better day to start than on a day patented by a heart.
Written by the First Dallas Staff