Saturday, January 12, 2008

With All Your Heart

I have been thinking about what it means to be completely committed to serving the Lord, to pursuing His purposes, His interests, His holiness in my life. So I went back through the Scriptures to find what God has to say about this subject. What I found is that nineteen times in God’s Word, He speaks of loving Him, seeking Him, serving Him, returning to Him, and trusting Him “with all your heart.”

That is an extraordinarily high number of times for God to repeat Himself. Since He is God, He really only has to say something once for us to be required to obey. But in this case, He doesn’t say it once or twice, or even ten times. He says it NINETEEN times. So I must conclude that God considers absolute devotion, service, and allegiance to Him to be of primary importance for His people.

This has a tremendous impact on how we live our lives. This means that every moment of every day of every week of every year, we are to be consumed with glorifying God in and through our lives. Our actions at work, home, neighborhood, and community are to be conducted in such a way that they demonstrate our complete commitment to Christ as our Lord and Master. His glory and honor is to be the foundation of every act of commission and omission that we undertake.

What this does not mean is that we superficially clean up our lives and undergo some kind of moral reformation. That accomplishes nothing but to make us look good in the eyes of others, but a hypocrite in the eyes of God. Rather, we must undergo a moral transformation in which we place our trust in Christ and Him alone for the forgiveness of our sins. All the way down, at the very core of our being, we must be transformed into the character of Christ through His indwelling Holy Spirit. Only then can we live lives which are not only good on the outside, but which honor Him on the inside as well.

If we are to live a life which is completed devoted to Him and His honor, we will make it our passion to examine everything we do with the lens of God’s Word. We will not examine only our actions, because those may appear to others to be good and honoring to God. But we will also examine our motives, thoughts, and reasoning to determine whether or not they match up with the standards of Scripture. When we do that, we will often find that pride and self-interest are the real motives that underlie what we do rather than the motive of doing only that which glorifies God, even when it goes against our own self-interest.

True devotion and service to Christ with all our heart is impossible if our pride is involved. Only a heart which is truly humble and submitted to God’s purposes, willingly accepting whatever He brings, can be said to be completely devoted to Him. God said that Job was “a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil” (Job 2:8). In other words, Job was a man who loved, served, and obeyed the Lord with all his heart. And when he lost all he had, including his children, he said, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 2:21).

May we willingly humble ourselves before the Lord, abandoning all vestiges of pride, self-interest, and self-control, and devote ourselves wholly and completely to the task of loving, honoring, and serving our Lord.

No comments: