Matthew 22:37, New Living Translation
“You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.”
Joy. This is something we all are striving to find…but are we truly seeking with all our heart? God commands us in His word, “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind (Matthew 22:37 NLT).” Think about it, when you are in a committed relationship with someone, your desire is for them to accept you and love you as you are. In turn this brings you joy and contentment because of the acceptance and love you receive.
The thing about humans is that we are selfish in nature. We want all that we want when we want it and we want it now. Here is the thing, for a relationship to work, both individuals have to put forth an effort to accept and love one another and to share that joy that comes from acceptance and love. As humans, we all fall short of the expectations we each have for one another. This leads to disappointment and could lead to feelings of being unloved, undesired, unappreciated, undervalued and so on.
Only God has perfect love to give. If we are willing to receive His perfect love, He desires our heart in return. Though our love is imperfect and flawed, God desires that. In our weaknesses His strength is shown. We see the deep love that He has for us…if we are seeking Him…if we are seeking His heart and His love.
Jeremiah 30:18-22 (NLT) says: “This is what the LORD says: ‘When I bring Israel home again from captivity and restore their fortunes, Jerusalem will be built on its ruins, and the palace reconstructed as before. There will be joy and songs of thanksgiving, and I will multiply my people, not diminish them; I will honor them, not despise them. Their children will prosper as they did long ago. I will establish them as a nation before me, and I will punish anyone who hurts them. They will have their own ruler again, and he will come from their own people. I will invite him to approach me,’ says the LORD, ‘for who would dare to come unless invited? You will be my people, and I will be your God.’”
In relation to this scripture, we put ourselves into captivity when we choose something other than God to fill our deepest longing and desires. If we come to Him and surrender our thoughts our needs our desires, He will rebuild us in our brokenness. He will establish us as His children and He will teach us in what way to go. As we draw nearer to Him and understand His love and desires for us, a deep joy is developed within us because we have an intimate relationship with our Lord and Savior. He is our God and we are His people.
This has been a process for me to understand. But as I seek the Lord, as you seek the Lord, He brings understanding and revelation to us. It’s because of His love for you and I that though we don’t have perfect companionship with one another, we have perfect companionship with Him and therefore have the ability to see the goodness in our relationships, in our work, in our homes, in our circumstances. We begin to see that the eternity He has placed in our hearts is right before us in this very moment. We become thankful and in awe of how good God truly is to us. “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.” (Matthew 7:9-11 NLT)
Every breath, every moment, every minute on this earth is a gift from God. It is the love of God towards us. It is His mercy and grace towards us. It is the purpose that He has for us. What will we choose to do with it? Psalm 16:11 (NLT) tells us, “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” As I continue on in my own journey of faith and love, I am finding more joy and more love than I could ever imagine. I am sure I am just scratching the surface. Relationships are not easy. If you truly want a relationship with the Lord, to experience His love, His goodness, you cannot just expect Him to give it all to you with nothing in return. He gives us the choice of free will to love Him and to seek Him. He does not force it on us. I am realizing more and more every day how much I need a Savior, Jesus Christ, because without Him I would be lost and broken and hopeless.
“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?” (Luke 9:24-25 NLT)
When you are raised up in a world of broken and lost people, it is difficult to give up the life that you believe you love so much. When you realize the things that you love so much are just temporary things, and that your eternal wellbeing is forever, the perfect love of God is forever, the joy of the Lord is forever, it is easier to surrender your heart and life to Jesus. Even when it is scary, even when it is hard, I want to encourage us to surrender to the life that God has for us.
“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT)
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