Friday, November 30, 2007

Give Him Your All

In honor of my mother's birthday, today's poem is her choice.

"Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength," says Deuteronomy 6:5. The New Testament adds, "with all your mind." That pretty much covers everything that makes up the human will.

Of course, none of us as imperfect humans can ever love God with everything in us--at least not for more than brief periods. Our sinful natures are too drawn to the many distractions in this world. But if we can only hope to fully realize the ideal in heaven, we can at least practice here on earth: by diligently studying God's Word with the goal of getting to know Him; by praying regularly (not forgetting to listen as well as talk); by singing hymns and praises; by faithfully attending worship services; and by showing love to other people, in God's name, whenever we have opportunity.

Most important is that we realize the Object of our love is also the Source of our power to love--that He is love itself. We can only love Him because He loved us first; and when we truly accept His love, we must love Him and the other people whom He also loves--not under orders, but because we absorb His own nature. A heart that cherishes hatred for others, however well hidden or seemingly justified, is a heart closed to the full extent of Christ's love (see 1 John 4:7-21).

We can only come close to loving God with everything we have if we are willing to let Him purge our hearts of any animosity or bitterness.

Our God, the Lord of Creation,
Made earth with its joys to find,
So we could live through discovery:
Love God with all of your mind!

Our God, the Lord once Incarnate,
Who bled that we need not part,
Brought us to live in His Kingdom:
Love God with all of your heart!

Our God, the Lord Who brings healing,
Will cure all disease at length,
And heals our souls in the present:
Love God with all of your strength!

Our God, the Lord Who brings freedom,
Who holds power to save or kill,
Would have us choose life eternal:
Love God with all of your will!

Our God, the End and Beginning,
Will make all creation whole
When the time has come for fulfillment:
Love God with all of your soul!

Our God, Lord now and forever,
Came down among us to save--
The choice is yours for the making:
Love God with all that you have!

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