Summer Smiles, Grad Gifts, and Great Giveaways
- May 31, 2023
This is the third article in a series entitled “The Five Investments.” Previous articles are always available at http://www.webbweekly.com. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no
This is the third article in a series entitled “The Five Investments.” Previous articles are always available at http://www.webbweekly.com.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31.
So how can God expect us to love Him with all of our heart when so much about our heart is beyond our ability to control? Isn’t doing so impossible?
The answer is yes — it is impossible for us to love God with all our heart. The Bible clearly teaches that we are dead in our sin. See Ephesians 2:1 and Romans 6:23. To understand how we can love God with all of our heart; we must start with this harsh truth: dead can’t do anything. Last I checked, dead means dead — and that means our dead hearts are incapable of loving God.
That doesn’t mean we humans don’t try really hard. We can be deeply involved in the pursuit of religion and piety and still be dead. The human effort to prove our love to God while still dead is a dead-end pursuit. It just doesn’t work. It never has, and it never will. I have spoken with many people over the years who said, “I tried religion. It didn’t work.” I’m not surprised. If religion is defined as our efforts to love God while still dead in sin, then religion won’t work.
And that leads us to a predicament. If we can’t love God with all our heart, then how can we obey the greatest command?
The answer to that question is the good news of Jesus Christ. You see, what is impossible with man is completely possible with God. That’s what Jesus declared in Matthew 19:26. It’s why Paul stated, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13. The whole point to the stories of Christmas and Easter is that Jesus Christ has made way for us who are dead in sin to be made alive in Him!
With that in mind, here are four ways you can love God with all your heart:
First, yield your heart. John 3:16 explains yielding as belief. To believe in God and to receive the gift of life through Jesus Christ, we must yield our pride. And friend, the ability to do so requires the grace of God because dead people can’t do anything. If your heart is feeling drawn to God as you read this article, then rest assured, grace is drawing you. Dead is dead, but God has not given up on you. Receive this article as His gift of grace and yield your pride to receive life in Jesus Christ. This is step one in loving God with all your heart.
Second, learn about your heart. “The human heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” Jeremiah 17:9. Listen, even after receiving eternal life, your heart is still going to be driven by passions and emotions that will make you vulnerable to all kinds of temptations. You need to learn about your Autonomic Nervous System and your temperaments and personality.
We all have unique vulnerabilities, and it is vital that we identify those weaknesses. If you think you’re invincible, you’re in for a rude awakening. Look at what happened to King David in II Samuel 11. Remember, “Pride goes before destruction.” Proverbs 16:18. It is vital that you are painfully honest with yourself on this. If not, you’ll never be able to pursue the next step.
Third, guard your heart. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” While we don’t have control over our heart, we do have control over the many factors that influence our heart. This is the whole point of being a disciple. The word disciple is understood as discipline. We are able to love God with all our heart as we pursue the spiritual disciplines that guard our heart.
Give your heart to learning God’s Word, praying, being filled with the Holy Spirit, communing with believers, and pursuing the mission of God. God’s grace can transform your heart — so tap into it.
Take your health seriously. Be very wise in how you sleep, exercise, and have fun. Physical, mental, and emotional weariness amplifies our vulnerabilities, so take good care of yourself.
Create margins in your schedule and your bank accounts to relieve stress and to expand freedom. Listen, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you must do it. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to live on less so you can enjoy life more.
Build barriers between your heart and its vulnerabilities. Do it while you are strong. If you don’t, you will give in to temptation when you are most vulnerable. Listen, it’s too late to build flood walls when the river is rising. Know your vulnerabilities and get those barriers built. You already know what happens when you don’t.
Fourth, give your heart away. Jesus said, “Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8. If you want to strengthen and guard your heart, then start giving of your time and resources to please others and to meet their needs. Doing so requires taking the focus off yourself and what you think you deserve or are entitled to. Selflessness is always good for strengthening the heart. I encourage you to read Philippians 2:1-18.
In the next article, we’ll talk about how we love God with all our soul — the second of the five investments.