Bible Readings for Day 2: Love Brings Hope – Deut. 4:4-9; 6:4-6; Mark 12:28-30; 2 Chron. 16:9
Like many of you, I have read these words that make up the Greatest Commandment many times. I know loving God is supposed to be the most important priority of my life. The instruction to love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength has been drilled into me since I was a preacher’s kid (literally living on the church property). But this seemingly straightforward admonition always seemed too hard and out of reach for someone like me. That kind of relationship was for someone else—like Billy Graham, selfless missionaries, or gifted pastors. Surely it would be enough for me to demonstrate my love by being a good Christian girl, trying to do all the right things a preacher’s kid should do, and having a spotty relationship with Him like most other regular people.
The problem with my logic is that it doesn’t line up with the words of Jesus. According to Him, this is the big one of the top ten rules. NOT loving Him with all is breaking a commandment. Not loving Him wholeheartedly is a sin. Somehow I had categorized His words as a suggestion for the supergodly. Lacking that level of godliness left me off the hook, safe in my tiny world of halfhearted mediocrity. Of course, I was wrong. Offering God anything less than my all is equivalent to murder, adultery, stealing, and idolatry.
Do you find that reality as unnerving as I did? I thought wholehearted pursuit was optional. Suddenly confronted with the truth, I did not know what to do, but I began to ask Him. Really, I begged Him, “Lord, show me the difference between loving You with everything I am and settling for halfhearted mediocrity.”
What you have in these pages is my attempt to pass along what this halfhearted, small-thinking Jesus girl is learning. Think about the other two verses in your reading today: Deuteronomy 4:29 and 2 Chronicles 16:9. These two verses set in motion my own journey toward wholehearted pursuit. How do they encourage you?