“I Love You With All My Heart…”

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment” (Matt. 22:37-38).

We use the phrase so flippantly:
“I love you/her/him/this/that with all my heart.”

We often say it mistakenly out of emotion. It feels like all our heart.

It can be easy to say that we love someone in that way because our feelings can change on a dime. Left to emotion, “all your heart” may be given to someone new tomorrow. Infatuation always fades.

Often, as with human relationships, we are infatuated with God instead of being truly in love with Him. This type of fickle passion will never be enough to obey the greatest commandment: to love God with all your heart.

To love Him with all your heart doesn’t just require passion, but devotion, and devotion requires focus.

And focus requires the removal of anything other than God.

He will remove anything that stands in the way of perfecting His love relationship with one of His children.

Anything.

He will tolerate no competition because He knows that nothing will satisfy us fully except for Him and because we are His and His alone. In fact, He won’t tolerate anything that distracts one of His children from following Him fully. It may sound harsh, but if we don’t obey Him and remove that which stands against Him, He will. Or worse still, He may allow us to have our own way for a time and become miserable before we realize our mistake. We lose precious things when we pursue empty promises.

If you experience loss due to someone’s sin against you, or your own sin, God saw it coming from time immemorial and knows what to do. Sinful human decisions do not hinder the hand of God of working even the worst for His glory. Yet it saddens me to think of all the times I have grieved Him by running to things that distracted me from Him. Whether we experience pain from our own sin or someone else’s, God is a Redeemer. He wastes nothing.

His gifts are designed to draw us closer to Him. We respond with worship, gratitude and humility. He will never give anything that will lessen our desire for Him, and He will never give us anything that allows us to remain the same.

His gifts always move us to obedience, to trust and to holiness. If a “gift” does not grow us in those ways, then it is not from Him.

He only gives out of goodness and love.

He only takes out of goodness and love.

If He removes something from your life, know that He has a reason for it.

I call it “the blessing of divestment.”

God shows grace by taking from us.

Let go at His first tug.

Only when God is foremost in our lives can we say we love Him with all our hearts.

Only when we want nothing more than God will we truly find Him.

“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13).

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