Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I just want a heart that is fully in love.


If there has been something that God has been shouting at me for the past few months is wholeheartedness. It’s been coming from my devotional time, my fiancĂ©, the podcasts from different ministries that I have happened to listen to, the church services that I have attended, and the Bible studies that I’m participating in. It’s incredible. As I flipped back through my journal (started last October), I was not surprised to find a common theme. Every time that I turn around, that is the word that I have been hearing.

Maybe this idea is just a growing trend in churches…? Maybe this idea is just something that is so compelling that it’s gripping believers all over the world…?  Or maybe it’s just what’s on the Lord’s heart right now for the modern church.

The thing that has the biggest impact on my life is unarguably the relationships that surround me. I believe that intentionality in relationships is under attack. It is the age of “we’ll just see what happens”, “I’ll wait for them to call me“ and “maybe I’ll commit if I don’t find something better”.

As my time in college came to an end last year, I grew increasingly frustrated with this lifestyle… I mean how do these people who never commit and never make plans even have friends? I am I crazy, or what?

Anyway, all that is to say- I am positive that our lack of intentionality in our human relationships will carry over (if it hasn’t already) and become a habit in our relationship with Jesus Christ.  

            In January, Athens Church did a series called “This One Thing”. It was based on the book of Nehemiah, describing the trials and tribulations that Nehemiah faced while trying to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. Despite the hardships, Nehemiah made the declaration that he was “doing a great work and could not come down” (Nehemiah 6:3). My AC Small Group made declarations of “the one thing” that we were going to pursue this year with the same fervor of Nehemiah. 

Here is what I wrote on my notecard:

I’m not kidding, I didn’t even remember what I wrote on this card when I started this blog post. That is how much this has been pressed upon my heart.

 Two days after filing out that card, I was at Georgia College & State University’s house church (in Milledgeville, GA) and heard McCray (my fiancĂ©)’s good friend Carter share a verse that just keeps showing up.

2 Chronicles 16:9

The Lord’s desire is for us to be wholehearted in our relationship with him.

What does that look like? After listening to many podcasts & sermons (that were at the root of it all about the same thing) I’ve decided that to me, it means that we have to start putting the first commandment first again.  

So, this may be a little confusing… Correct me if I’m wrong, but I have grown up learning about two “first” commandments.  

            Exodus 20:3:
“You shall have no other gods before me.”
(the first of the Ten Commandments)
Matthew 22:37-38:
“Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment”.

There’s the first commandment that God gives to the Israelites in the Old Testament and then the ‘first and greatest’ commandment that Jesus declares in the New Testament. But aren’t they really the same?

If we love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, & mind- we will certainly not put other gods before him. We will pursue him wholeheartedly.

It just so happened that about a month ago, I walked into a women’s Bible Study at the International Baptist Church in Escazu, Costa Rica only to discover that the name of the current study was “No Other Gods: confronting our modern day idols” (based on the book by Kelly Minter). Like I said, God is just getting all up in my face with this.

We have enough room in our hearts to love the Lord wholeheartedly. If we don’t pour this love into our relationship with the Lord, we will inevitably pour it into something else.

Through this Kelly Minter study, I have I have learned a lot about what my “false gods” that I worship actually are. “False god” is a term that makes me picture a tall ugly statue made of gold. Obviously I’m not actually bowing down to one of these on a daily basis.

A more adequate term is given in this study: a functional god- “a functional god is something that functions AS a god in our lives”. You can profess that Jesus Christ is your god all day long but unless he actually functions as your god, you are wasting your breath.

If we aren’t intentional, we end up worshipping functional gods that are really just a series of short-lived infatuations. Do you really want a series of short-lived infatuations for the rest of your life? Jesus is offering a lasting, wholehearted passion.

A few weeks into the study, I came upon this:

2 Chronicles 16:9- again.

God just wants us to be wholehearted! He wants us to throw our fears of commitment out the window and decide not to miss out any longer. When we leave doors of our heart open, we are making room for functional gods to creep in. We begin in tune into what those gods are telling us and tune out what God wants to tell us.

Am I missing out on what god wants to speak over my life by shying away from wholeheartedness? Are you?

I’m done with allowing false/functional gods to steal your time, God. 
I want to be all in or nothing.

I just want a heart that is fully in love.

and in case you just can't get enough...here's a message that my fiance gave on Caleb & wholeheartedness called "Greatness is Hidden"

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