In my alone time this morning (literally in the middle of the whisper-quiet forest), I was praying that my heart would be pure before Him when this verse popped into my head, ‘Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” – Matthew 22:37
Of course we understand that God loves us because of the gift of Jesus Christ and His work on the cross (see Romans 5:8) And we all realize that we love God in return for His love (see 1 John 4:19). Matthew 22:37 is a very familiar verse to most Christians. It is said that “familiarity breeds contempt”. I believe when it comes to Scripture, familiarity breeds contentment. I think that we get so comfortable with the verses we know well, that we often read over them quickly, thinking that we cannot possibly get more from what we already understand. I know I do. That’s why I was surprised when this verse came to me this morning. I was quiet and listened to what the Spirit had to say.
Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (see Matthew 12:34) David pleaded to God to create in him a clean heart (see Psalm 51:10). Clearly, our hearts are important to God. We cannot harbor darkness in our hearts, and then expect to speak light and love (see James 3:10). But we cannot also just assume that because we call ourselves Christians, that our hearts are right. It is a continuous effort to daily set our hearts on Him. We cannot just take for granted that they already are. Our hearts become pure before Him when we allow Him to be Lord over them.
“Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds…” Romans 12:2a. I love the amplified version of Isaiah 26:3, “You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.” When it comes to our minds, I believe that we think of the “major” no-no’s, but I would challenge that sin is sin. If our minds are thinking anything that is not glorifying God, we need to renew them. Scripture is clear that this, too, requires effort on our part.
I believe that when we completely surrender every aspect of ourselves and our lives to Him, He abides in us, and we in Him, then we are free to love Him with all of our souls. If He is not Lord of our hearts, minds, and souls, we are not able to love Him with all that we are, and we become ineffective Christians.
So often we call Jesus our Lord and Savior, praising Him that He is both (and rightly so). The Bible refers to Jesus as our Savior only a few times, while He is called Lord on many more occasions. I believe as Christians, once we understand and accept the beautiful salvation that He has freely given to us, we need to mature on to making Him Lord of our lives. We need to never get complacent about our salvation, but praise Him daily for that, as well as share it with others. However, as we mature in our personal walks, we must daily deny our self-lording natures and allow Him to be Lord. Jesus said if we desire to come after Him, we must “deny ourselves” (see Matthew 16:24). This is what it means to make Him Lord. We all have a purpose, but we can only know and accomplish that purpose when He is Lord of our lives.
Dear Sisters, let us every day completely surrender to our Lord and Savior. Only then will we be free to love Him with ALL of our hearts, minds, and souls.
God Bless, Heather