In my previous article, we discussed the question, when people look at your life, do they see a passion for Jesus that goes far beyond any other affection in your life? Today, we’ll continue to dive into what it means to love God with all our hearts in a missional life.
Solomon wrote in Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” In this simple yet profound verse, he gives us insight into what it looks like to become like Harold or others who love God with all of their hearts.
Three Lessons from Solomon
First, Solomon underlines the importance of paying attention to loving God with your heart “above all else.” It is crucial. It needs intentionality.
Second, he states that we must guard our hearts. This carries with it the meaning of assessing where we are “sick” and what “surgery” needs to take place. Things can appear to be okay on the outside, but our hearts are sick when we have allowed other things or people to take the place of Christ. Often it is only radical surgery—cutting these things out—that will bring us back to spiritual health. Is Christ first?
Third, an examined life with a healthy heart leads to a full life. What does it look like to put Christ back on the throne of our lives? This is what spiritual disciplines are all about. Fasting reduces our dependence on food for emotional and physical support, and allows us space and time to learn to trust Jesus. Silence allows us to stop trusting in our own ability to maneuver into favourable positions, and instead to trust God to put us where He can best use us. In Sabbathkeeping we learn to trust God. Tithing is similar, and the list goes on.
A Missional Life of Love
Loving God with all of our hearts is a key component to becoming missional; people will be drawn to Christ through our undivided devotion to Him. Why not apply some of the following suggestions to your spiritual rhythms to become a more complete witness to the reality of Christ alive in you?
Talk to a number of people who live with Christ first in their lives. How did they come to a place of undivided devotion? Consider asking one of them to mentor you.
Do a spiritual assessment of where your heart is at. Invite several close friends to ask you questions about your dreams, your devotions, and your delights. These will be good clues as to the affections of your heart.
Develop a set of spiritual disciplines or practices. Assessed what elements of your life stand in the way of Christ being first, and choose a practice that will intentionally subordinate that thing and instead elevate Christ.
Make sure to practice the discipline of celebration, where you gather with others to tell stories of how Christ is at work in your life. Pay attention to where you see God at work, and what you hear Him saying to you on a regular basis.
I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:35).
One key way we show our love for God is by loving others. In the coming weeks, we’ll discuss the corporate—togetherness—element of loving God with our whole heart.