“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
How important is it that we’re loving God? So important that when asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37)
It’s one thing to read it, but it’s quite another to put it into practice. Especially, when there are so many relationships here that can easily slip into the number one spot.
For much of high school and college, I fell into a cyclical pattern where if there were no guys in my life, my heart was all about Jesus. I embraced my singleness as a way to take time to love God and enjoy His love for me. Then, the minute a guy entered into the picture, God would quickly fall down the rankings as my heart quickly followed after someone else. In each instance, I eventually discovered that those relationships could never satisfy, and once again I would be back praying, journaling, and talking about how I desperately wanted a heart devoted to loving God.
Maybe it’s just me, but when it comes to loving God, guys can be a distraction. Men give us the tangible affection and attention that we long for, and when that happens, it’s easy to lose sight of our desire to simply love God.
When Bernie and I were engaged, I was praying one day for our relationship and felt God speak to me about this. I knew wanted to marry Bernie, but I suddenly became fearful and anxious of missing God’s plan. I was lying on the floor praying (sometimes that’s where my most desperate prayers take place) and I remember hearing the Lord whisper to my heart, “Elizabeth, this is my best for you! Enjoy this relationship I have given to you, but you and Bernie must always remember to love me first.”
Those words are now permanently impressed upon my heart. Not in a haunting way, but more of a loving challenge. Am I loving God first? Is He truly my heart’s first desire? Is there someone or something that has taken His place?
This commandment is not because God doesn’t want us enjoying relationships here on earth. God created Eve so that Adam wouldn’t be alone.
No matter what our current status may be—single, married, dating, man eater—God is a God who desires our hearts. Not so that our lives can be boring, but so that we can experience more of the abundance and fullness that is found when we’re fully devoted to Him.
God is after our hearts, and I think it’s time we freely and joyfully give them to Him and see what happens!