“Love the Lord your God… with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)
Pastor John’s Notes:
Loving God requires us to do work. Christianity is not merely an intellectual or philosophical religion; it is a faith that is worked out in real time. Everything we believe is to be put into practice. Sometimes this work is easy and delightful; other times it is frustrating, difficult, and emotionally draining. Let’s get this straight on the outset: living as a Christian is not for the feeble-hearted. But we are not alone in this work. God is with us to provide strength, encouragement, and direction. God is ready to guide our actions so that we are never working alone but are always working together with God.
Because we are physical creatures and have limited time and energy to give to the many necessary tasks of life, loving God with our strength will require a redistribution of our time and energy. If we truly want to grow in our faith, we will need to give God a substantial amount of our time. Jesus gave us an example of this by rising early while it was still dark in order to pray in solitude. If we decided to follow his example, it may mean that we could no longer stay up as late. Reading the Bible also requires time. It takes time to read and even more time to reflect. To do so would mean that we would need to trim back our TV or internet time. Putting faith into practice might also mean that we would need to give up one of our hobbies in order to volunteer in our community. Whatever the change, loving God with our strength requires a redistribution of our time and energy.
Show me what changes I need to make so that I can grow in my faith. Let me give the first and the best of my time and energy to you. Let new patterns begin to emerge. And provide for me the strength and encouragement I need to be able to follow through.