“Jesus replied, ‘The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31
You must love the Lord your God with all your heart…
It sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? We can easily convince ourselves that we love God with all our heart, and we can do a fairly decent job of it. It’s often not until we face the reality of loving our neighbor freely that we realize our capability to truly love another being is not within our own control. Loving ourselves is easy – innate, natural. But loving others…that does not come as naturally. You see, in order to love thy neighbor as thyself, you have to love God first.
And loving God, while it sounds easy, is sometimes difficult for us. We can confess with our mouths that we love our God, and we can show others we love God with our acts. But God looks at the heart. He doesn’t want our “show” or our “promises”….He wants our heart – our WHOLE heart. When we harbor anger, malice, hate, and even hurt in our heart, those spaces are “full” and we can’t allow God in – or out. How can we show others what Love looks like, when there is no room for it in our own heart?
In order for God to have your whole heart and to fill it completely, certain things have to come out. This is the “open-heart surgery” that all of us need. Fortunately, God is the Master Surgeon! With precision and care, He removes the “dark” spots in our hearts, and fills them with His light. He wraps us in His love and cares for us better than any nurse ever could. His prescription for recovery? Time in His Word.
Every day the Savior desires to meet with you. He wants a true relationship with you – the kind of relationship that builds with time. The kind of relationship where it’s okay to be yourself – to cry when you need to, to laugh when you can, and to just enjoy the other’s company. Spending time with Him and His Word will help to grow and nurture that relationship…daily. That’s how love grows.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to confess to you the “dark” spots in my heart. I think it’s more because I’m embarrassed that they are even there. I understand that those spots take up space in my heart – space that could and should be filled by you. Please, Father, reveal to me those areas I need to surrender to you, so you can begin the surgery my heart so desperately needs to live. And Dad, when I find myself in those moments where it’s difficult to love someone else, can you please do it for me? Thank you for always hearing my prayer,