Posted in Luke, Mark, Romans

Wholehearted Love

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Mark 12:39

Jesus told the experts of the law that this was the greatest commandment: to love God with everything in you. I don’t believe we can obey this command apart from the filling of the Holy Spirit. You can choose to worship God and you can choose to obey God and you can choose to say “no” to temptation; but you and I can’t choose to love God wholeheartedly; we need help. Here’s why: I can choose to worship, but I can’t make myself enjoy it, which is what is required if I’m going to be wholehearted. I can choose to obey, but I can’t force myself to be excited about it; and if I’m not impassioned, it’s not wholehearted. When a man is cheering for his favorite team to win, all of his emotions are invested because he wants them to win with all his heart. If it’s somebody else’s team and he’s asked to cheer for them, he might do it as a favor, but his heart isn’t really in it. You can’t make your heart be into something; that’s God’s part.

“The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5) True love begins with God, not with us. When the Holy Spirit is filling us He is able to tap our deep passions and desires and turn them toward God. It takes God to love God. We can choose to obey God and do what is right but Jesus is worthy of more than that! He is worthy of us being passionate about our obedience and wholehearted in whatever we are doing because we’re doing it for Him and with Him. For this we need to ask and keep asking to be filled with the Spirit. (Luke 11:13) We are His temple and we only operate rightly when we’re filled with Him.

Sometimes the problem is that our hearts have been damaged, or hurt so badly that we can’t do anything wholeheartedly any more. Jesus is anointed with the Spirit to mend broken hearts so they can regain the ability to love. (Isaiah 61:1) Once again, we can’t heal ourselves, but we can recognize our need and earnestly ask for His healing power to restore us. Ask Him to heal you so you can love yourself and others again; that’s good. But a greater prayer is that He would heal your heart completely so that you can give Jesus the kind of love He is worthy of.