Posted by: mikenicholsblog | October 24, 2016

love the Lord your God with all

How are you at relationships? Every one of us is joined to someone.  A kindred bond defined in one of a variety of ways. Our relationship equity is often dictated by the value that we place on the other (spouse, child, friend, etc…). It is easy to say we value others, and place their needs before our own, but reality says that frequently our personal agenda (selfishness) collides with meeting the needs of others.  Let me illustrate with an event which took place over thirty years ago. It was at Christmastime, and like any good husband, I wanted to get my wife a gift. At that point in my life, getting gifts early was not the norm. At the last minute, I was racing through a department store in Hialeah, Florida. I found a pretty robe, bought it, and was ready for gift giving.

As we opened gifts that Christmas morning, there a noticeable issue. In my last-minute bustle, I missed something … the size of the robe! Can you imagine the look on my wife’s face upon receiving a (beautiful) robe that was several sizes too big? She can now amusingly illustrate opening the robe that could have contained her, plus my daughter and me. With all honesty, I can say that my failure was not in loving her, because she was and still is the best wife I could have wanted. My failure was in looking at our relationship selfishly. How hard would it have been to shop early, having the time to — Oh, I don’t know — read the sizes and show my wife the honor she deserved? But in choosing to live out the relationship on my terms, the gift was meaningless, and the hurt was obvious.

How does this relate to our relationship with the Father?  I’m glad you asked! Without a doubt our Father desires our full and complete love.  In Mark 12:30, Jesus states this clearly:

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  

Intellectually, those words ring true for many believers. But in the reality of living, we are all confronted with distractions ranging from busy schedules, to health issues, to job struggles, to — last, but nowhere near least — our own sin. In the course of these life issues, what we know about loving God (intellectually) can be far different from our experience of loving Him with our whole heart.  In so many ways our distracted lives dictate how we love our Lord … and how we buy robes (terribly mis-sized ones).

Loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength is not something we just naturally do. It is a result of the level of our focus, communication and seeking after the Father. When we become distracted and lose our passion for the Word and prayer, we do not love God as He would desire. None of us seek Him perfectly, but where is your love level these days? If you find yourself being driven by your daily distractions and busy agenda in building your love relationship with God, maybe you can relate to my purchase of the (big) robe.

My issue was not in the love I felt for my wife. It was in defining our relationship by my schedule, selfishness, and lack of preparation. The result being, the level of love she received was far less than what she deserved. Your issue may not be the love you feel for your Father. But when your love for Him is squeezed in between all your daily distractions, you are dictating the terms of your most important relationship.  And the level of love He receives falls far short of what He deserves.

As you begin a new week, would it be appropriate to speak to the Father about loving Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength? Don’t ignore what God already knows … your level of love!

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Responses

  1. Hahaha. A funny story but an awesome reminder !!
    Thanks Mike for all you and the team do!
    God bless you all for your dedication and commitment to share the Word
    Sincerely
    Brad


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