Tuesday, November 16, 2010
With All Your Heart
"With all my heart" is a common expression used to describe the depth of love we have for someone. Obviously we aren't talking about the muscle in our chest that pumps the lifeblood through our bodies that keeps us alive. So what is our "heart"? And how do we love someone with all of it?
Look under the third definition of "heart" on dictionary.com and you'll see that the heart is defined in this sense as: the center of of the total personality, especially in reference to intuition, feeling or emotion. Chew on that for a minute. Our heart is at the center of who we are, because God has created us as creatures driven by emotion. Our emotions typically determine our actions. The way we feel governs the way that we live. Hence the mindset to "just do it."
Now when we crucify our flesh and allow the Spirit to guide our lives, we can choose to live by what we know to be true rather than by what we feel, which is a vital discipline for the Christian walk. But we can never get away from this core element of our humanity- raw emotion. And this is a good thing! God created us like this. He wanted us to have and experience emotions. They are a beautiful and wonderful part of the vibrant life that Jesus came to give us. We aren't supposed to be apathetic, uncaring, unfeeling Christians. We are supposed to be passionate and spirited, especially when it comes to our relationship with our Heavenly Father and the things that He is passionate about.
David is one of my favorite personalities in the Bible. Partially because I can relate to his emotional ups and downs. He never held back in expressing his emotions- good or bad- through the Psalms. I, too, am an emotional person. Some days I feel overwhelmed with love for my Savior. And some days I feel frustrated, far away, or even angry with God. David mirrors these emotions in his writings. Take a look:
"I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High."
and in the very next chapter...
"Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?"
Although David was an emotional person, he was also said by God to be a man "after my own heart". I honestly believe that God delights in hearing the pure emotion of His children poured out in prayer and song to Him. He loved David and savored every moment of fellowship and interaction, regardless of David's mood swing that day. He knew David was honest, open, and pure and that is what God longs for in a love relationship with us.
Truly loving God "with all your heart" means to surrender your every emotion to God. Highs and lows, ups and downs- turn them all into a prayer of devotion to your Father. He loves that raw emotion and passion. He longs for us to express those emotions about and to Him. It doesn't mean that we can't be passionate about other things. But the cry of our heart, the core of our emotions, should be centered around and offered up to God. As we live a passionate life to and for our Father, He can begin to shape those very emotions to point us toward the things that He is passionate about. He takes our eyes off of ourselves and puts them on what is really important. Our passions will begin to be channeled toward helping the needy, relieving human suffering, spreading the Gospel and winning the lost. The more we know Christ, the more our emotions look like His.
The embrace, expression and surrender of our emotions to God, and the transformation of our passions to become His passion for the world around us- that is the ultimate expression of love to our Father.