I love my planner. I have realized lately that I like to think I am organized by having everything written down in a day planner, when really, I am still a jumbled mess in my head. I went through and researched some “family calendar” apps and things. I finally landed on just syncing our ical, notes app and reminders app between Nick and I and it has been AMAZING. We can both edit the grocery list when something comes to mind, we’re both reminded to give Ana her meds, etc. This level of communication has been a crazy revelation, but amazing! 🙂 Maybe it hasn’t been all that great for Nick though, haha he may have liked it quiet. 🙂
So as I was organizing my planner last night (usual Sunday routine) I began to see just how much is happening the next couple of weeks. We are closing on our house, moving in, starting school (at a new school), big event for our worship team coming up, lots of new things at work, projects and deadlines etc. We have registration, hair cuts, buying school supplies, packing up the apt, karate, meet the teacher, worship team rehearsal, church services, etc…
I began to feel a bit overwhelmed. I cannot make enough lists, figure out enough schedules or organize anything else. It will all just have to be accomplished one way or the other, by just getting it all done.
I sat down to my desk this morning and got in my journal for the first time in weeks. I was praying and asking God to just guide me and give me relief from the overwhelming nature of the next few weeks and just help keep me close. I was asking for all the help, strength and ability to just tackle all of the things.
I opened up to Mark, in my current Bible reading plan (She Reads Truth Bible, for the win) I will put together a full post of Bible study/devotional stuff soon!
Anyway, I opened it up and in Mark 12 Jesus is asked, “what is the most important command of all?” He responds by stating The Shema, which he would have learned as a young Jewish boy. “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul and all of your strength”, the second is love your neighbor as yourself.”
So I went back to Deuteronomy and read in chapter 6, the Shema…
“Listen, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul and all of your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road. When you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.”
Love. Him. Most.
Earlier in Mark, Jesus responds to the Pharisees about why he and his disciples strayed away from “tradition” by eating with sinners and associating with the unclean. He answered them (Mark 7:6-8) “He answered them saying, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites as it is written, This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. They worship me in vain, teaching as doctrines, human commands. Abandoning the command of God, you hold on to human traditions”
I have reflected on this particular verse before and it was made very evident to me that I abandon God’s command for human traditions, often. When I carry the load, live in anxious thoughts, try to do it all, pride myself in busyness and stress, I am holding on to man’s traditions. Huh.
Many times we think obedience is moving over seas, selling all of our stuff and moving to a new place, changing jobs after 20 years, some big thing… and those can and are big steps of obedience. Obedience is also quite simple…
Love him most.
I heard it clearly. He said, “love me most, dear. Just love me. Love me most. Love me more than all the things ahead. Focus on loving me with all that you are. I’ve got the rest”.
The Shema means, OBEDIENCE. When we take this first command, we submit to his authority (the Lord our God, the Lord is one), we die to self, (love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your strength), and we live to declare/remember (teach them do your children, think of them when you sit, when you rise, write them on your doorposts)
Jesus, as the Jewish man he was, was reciting the first command, as the most important, when asked. It was also the most important, because it is the all encompassing way to obey them all.
When we love him most, we are submitting to his authority; his loving, perfect and strong authority. When we love him most, we die to self. We quit putting all of our desires and thoughts and habits on the throne and we put Him where He belongs. We love him, not our own interests, with all that we are. Our hearts, our souls, our strength.
Our hearts compile all we hold dear, our needs, our life. Our souls hold our eternity, our emotions, struggle with sin, selfish ambitions, secrets. Our strength contains our abilities, our accomplishments, wealth in any form, our accolades.
When we love him most, with all of these things, He is glorified, He is worshiped, He is put in His place in order that He be the one who holds our life. He hems us in. He makes all things hold together (Colossians 1) We are able to obey the commands he lines out for us in scripture, when this first command is our first priority.
When this first command is taken seriously and lived out (we will fail, I know this), we live a life of repentance, of awareness of our need, and in thanksgiving from the bondage of sin(choosing your own way).
So today, I’m choosing to love him most. I love him most by submitting my feelings and my emotions to his truth. I’m loving him most by sharing him with my girls, loving my husband in grace, encouraging my own mind and soul with His words.
I am loving Him most by putting Him first.
I won’t and don’t get it right all the time. But, the new mercies we are given in each day remind me that each day is a new opportunity. (Lamentations 3)
The to-do list is there, it’s full. The next few weeks, well, months, who are we kidding… are full. I know your life is different than mine. I know that you could be facing things that are BEYOND BELIEF. Hard things, dark struggles, health issues, death, loss, deep pain, hurt and betrayal. You could be hanging on by threads, struggling to trust anyone, even your own self. You could be struggling to get out of bed or it could be a struggle to leave the office and actually go home and stop. You could be on the millionth round of “I’ve got this weight loss thing” or “I will quit smoking Monday”… whatever things you are facing, enduring or struggling in, the answer is always to LOVE HIM MOST.
Love him more than food. Love him more than nicotine. Love him more than your marriage. Love him more than your children. Love him more than your life.
Love him most.
When Noah died I remember thinking that I couldn’t have gone through anything as hard. Many times in life, now, I will go back to that place in my head to remind me that the things I struggle with now days aren’t near as hard. But, the only way to have come out of that place was to love God more. I had to intentionally love God more than Noah, love him more than my desires, love him more than life. When we put him first, we love him more, we will always be in the center of his will. Easy or not, worth it. When we love him more than our kids, we love his ways for them more than our own. When we love him more than our spouse, we love our spouse with a love only God can give.
Friends, we must come to this place in our walks with Christ that loving him more means we really die to self. We die to bad habits, sexual sin, food sin, bad language, hateful speech, gossip and more; for the love we have for the Father.
Let’s LOVE HIM MOST. Let’s show our children that we love him most. Let’s submit to his plan and his will. Let’s attack the things he’s calling us to in our lives with a passion and a mind set on the Father, His love and His goodness. He never fails and He is always on time.
Maybe that is what #findingtheheart is all about. Finding his heart.
How will you love him most?
Please share! I would love to hear of how God is working on you and how you will love him the most this week.