Going Deeper with the Message:

Who can you purposely love for God?
by: Barbara Barnhart

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. and love your neighbor as yourself. (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 2:37-39, Mark 12:30-31, Luke 10:27)

I have been taught if you see something in scripture that is repeated over and over it must be very important. The scripture Pastor Tim referred to on Sunday must be very important. It is repeated in both the Old and New Testaments. As we continue to discuss the Relevance of the Church today, we know that we have a message that can change the world one life at a time, we need to be the church we want the church to be and we need to receive the invitation “inside” so we can love those “outside.” Loving God and loving others is a process.

One of my darling 4 year olds one Sunday asked me “I have never seen God, have you?” In explanation, I pointed to God’s creation, to praying, to the Bible, only to have the little girl look more and more perplexed. Her being perplexed brought about my insecurities which brought about my go-to defense mechanism—sarcasm. I know, I know, 4 year olds and sarcasm don’t mix. I told her I had times when I wished I could just call God and talk to Him. She immediately asked me, “What’s His number?” Most anyone else would just let it go, but no, I make my lovingly sarcastic response “1-800-HEAVEN.” Immediately, I made sure that it couldn’t be a real phone number (not enough numbers) and then felt shame and remorse for not understanding how to explain trust to her.

One of my favorite scriptures is Luke 2:52: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.” We need to realize that Jesus “grew up” to love His heavenly Father with all His heart, soul, mind and strength. The question we must ask ourselves is why would we think that we can automatically love God and others with such fervor?

Growing in our love for God and others is a
process—not something that happens overnight.

Our ability to Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength began in us because God loved us first. He is the One who helps us to grow and mature in our relationship with Him. This growing relationship with God enables us to love others as we are called to.

A Facebook memory from 2010 popped up today that reminded me of the process:

“Life is made up of moments that we choose to either touch a life with the love of Christ or ignore the needs of that life. Help me Heavenly Father to focus on living out my relationship with you—24 hours a day, 7 days a week—moment by moment!”

This week, look for opportunities to grow in your relationship with God and ways to live that out by loving your neighbor as yourself.