Love God with all your heart.
The heart! The strongest muscle in the human body and the centerpiece of the cardiovascular system. It keeps the very life blood pumping in our bodies allowing us to maintain our lives. The ancients understood the vitalness of the human heart and as such that the poets made it the icon for our very emotions and feelings. It became the part of the human mind that was responsible for love, affection, as well as hate and evil. Moreover the heart is also used to describe the center of a persons desires and passions that informs our thinking and actions in life. We use words like this person,thing, or job is near and dear to my heart. For all intensive purposes the heart is vital not just to our body but also to our mind.
What does God think of the human heart, lets dive in to scriptures to see just a few examples of what is the true condition of the heart. According to the Bible, the heart is the centre not only of spiritual activity, but of all the operations of human life. "Heart" and "soul" are often used interchangeably ( Deuteronomy 6:5 ; 26:16 ; Compare Matthew 22:37 ; Mark 12:30 Mark 12:33 ), but this is not generally the case.The heart is the "home of the personal life," and hence a man is designated, according to his heart, wise ( 1 Kings 3:12 , etc.), pure ( Psalms 24:4 ; Matthew 5:8 , etc.), upright and righteous ( Genesis 20:5 Genesis 20:6 ; Psalms 11:2 ; 78:72 ), pious and good ( Luke 8:15 ), etc. In these and such passages the word "soul" could not be substituted for "heart."
The heart is also the seat of the conscience ( Romans 2:15 ). Due to the fall it is naturally wicked ( Genesis 8:21 ), and hence it contaminates the whole life and character ( Matthew 12:34 ; 15:18 ; Compare Ecclesiastic 8:11 ; Psalms 73:7 ). Hence the heart must be changed, regenerated (Ezek. 36:26 ; 11:19 ; Psalms 51:10-14 ), before a man can willingly obey God.The process of salvation begins in the heart by the reception of the testimony of God, while the rejection of that testimony hardens the heart ( Psalms 95:8 ; Proverbs 28:14 ; 2 Chr. 36:13 ).
So then what does it mean to Love God. With a heart that is not perfect but that the process of sanctification is indeed in progress shaping it more and more in to the image of the Son. Consider David, he was many things. He was a poet, a song writer, a king and a passionate lover of God. At the recovery of the Ark of the covenant David danced in public as his heart filled with joy at having the manifest and tangible icon of Gods promise returned to its proper place amongst Israel. He was consider “ a man after God’s own heart” Never the less David heart was a traitorous and betray not only David but God with his sins.
Never the less we see a David that was fully devoted to his love and passion for God so much so that in the midst of his sin in the midst of David most darkest moments he writes Psalm 103. A psalm where David calls out his heart and soul to worship God and not to forget all that He has done for him. So when you see yourself in the darkest part of your walk with Christ think of what David said and command your heart and soul to love God.
Jesus teaches us as he rebuked the hypocrisy of the Pharisees that from the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak. (Mathew 12:34) Jesus teaching on this matter is that the heart is the wellspring of a persons actions. So whatever is the center of your life will inform your actions and behavior. It will lead you to choices that are consistent to what you love. Sadly the choices of a fallen unregenerate heart is that of fallen things. By our very fallen nature we seek not after God and as such no one is consider good. So we center our lives and our hearts around things other than God making idols for our hart to love.
The fact of the mater is that all of us are capable of loving something that much. We are all capable to give our hearts to something or someone. These things can be ones career, hobby, food, lust, materiality, girlfriend, boyfriend, or children. We all have things to center the strong emotions of our heart around. These things that we surround our hearts around are not God so they become just another idol that can and will lead us to our destructions. John Calvin said it best, “The heart is an idol factory”.
The disfigured heart
The life of each individual on earth is as unique as the snowflakes that fall from the sky. Our journey through this mortal coil and the decision made can deeply affect our lives and indeed our hearts are the biggest reflection of our hearts. Not only does our lives shape our hearts but it also misshapes them. Have you ever been betrayed by a love one? Have you ever felt the pain of loosing a love one? Do you know what it is to have such failures in your life that test the very fabric of your being? These are the situation that most misshape our hearts. We cant denied that those situations are the hammers that strike the heated playable metal of our heart upon the the anvil of life. It is these accumulation of events in our lives that bring anger, bitterness, depression, and a host of other negative emotions that for some are cohabiters with their lives. But it is this misshapen and imperfect heart that God wants. It is this harden heart totally adverse from God and his Gospel that he is a master at transforming by means of his amazing grace that makes affectations the total transformation of our lives. But the to many this step becomes almost impossible as we start thinking that we must be perfect of heart in order to give it all away to a perfect God. ( Ezekiel 36:26)
An imperfect heart to a perfect God
So how can we then give an imperfect heart to a perfect God? How can we give this heart that has been beaten on by bad relationships, by upsets, and folly, how can we then give this heart mired by our own sin? The answer is simple. We don’t, we can’t, our sin makes our heart a unsuitable and repulsive offering to a holy other and pure God. Never the less God takes and cleans our heart, he makes it brand new, he changes it from desiring self to desiring God. God puts new desires in your heart so that it yearns to center it self around Jesus and not other things. This is not saying that we reach perfection rather that our heart has been taken in the hand of the potter and has been made new. (Philippians 3:12) This amazing transformation is impossible for an individual because as much as we desire to mend our ways, how ever many times we set resolution upon resolutions to better our selves these can only amount to behavior modification (that would make Tony Robins Proud) and not a deep seated release from the idols that can take hold of our hearts.
This is evident in the life of an addict and indeed after the addict becomes sober they must continue to think of them selves as addicts for the rest of their lives because the desire for their addiction never, ever goes away. They are thought ( rightly so) that denning their condition is the first step towards falling from their sobriety. Self identification with their addiction\sin is the motivation for the alteration of their behavior. This self awareness is pointed straight at the bondage that the individual’s heart may have towards that chemical dependency ( what ever that may be) who's life center around even after reaching a modicum of sovereignty. But what if a person severity is reach not out of a modification of their behavior towards something that they desire rather what if the desire is gone all together?
What if the desire is gone from your heart all together.
So loving God with all our heart is loving a God that has taken your heart and has shaped it to love Him and will shape it to resemble the Son for his glory. In short God tells you love him with all your heart because he has shaped it to do so. Give all your desires to him and he will give you new ones. Surrender the darkest villest hedonistic desires that you may have and bend the knee to God in repentance and he will start the process of sanctification in your life. A process where your heart is change fundamentally to a heart that seeks after God.
Sanctification is not a easy thing. But by no means its a process that is started by us rather it is the exclusive work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. So in this instance our change in behavior comes about as a natural reflection of the change in our hearts. Even while we yet fight each day against that “old man” our desire is such that we then agree with Paul’s sentiment when he said. “For the good which I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I practice.” Romans 7:19 All in all this shows us that the process of sanctification is a life sentence. It is Gods devine work to sanctified the heart of man from unregenerate dead heart of stone to a heart of flesh and bone that lead man to desire and love God with all their heart.
Loving God with all out hearts
To be a lover of God, to be one who's heart is shape and aimed ready to love God and to received His love is Gods own goal and prerogative. It is He that shapes our heart to shapes us like a potter does clay. Loving God is a process that can only be describe as sanctification. So I leave you with Jesu’s favorite commandment “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your should and with all your mind” (Mathew 22:37)