Do you want to grow in your faith? You are setting an example of walking a Christian life to your children as well as to your fellow Mom Heart group members. Today Sally reminds us of the foundations of our Christian walk.
“Give me the Love that leads the way
The Faith that nothing can dismay
The Hope no disappointments tire
The Passion that’ll burn like fire
Let me not sink to be a clod
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God”
Knowing, Loving and Serving God is the Centerpiece of a Christian’s Life
When Sarah, my first child, was birthed and placed into my arms, I was immediately smitten. Tiny little fingers wrapped around my thumb, dark blue eyes beneath the squint peered upward, and my heart could barely believe that she was mine. Somehow a motherhood intuition kicked in and I wanted to protect her, care for her, and give my life for her well-being.
This is a small picture of how God feels about us. We are his beloved children and He has taken full responsibility for our lives. He wants to be close to us, to care for us, to teach us the amazing ways of His heart, mind and soul, and He designed us to know Him and His protection and love every moment of our lives.
Often, we perceive accepting Christ as our ticket into heaven. But coming into a relationship with God is so much more. It is the center point of everything we will do. It requires our total allegiance. We have come from a kingdom of darkness into a Kingdom of light. We now begin to grow into the people He created us to be. Our past is forgiven and forgotten and now, it is all about Him.
Understanding the amazing heritage He has provided for us as children of God will change our lives totally. It is not about “doing” all the right things, but instead it is about growing in relationship to Him, learning the ways of His love, His goodness, and then out of the realization of that love, learning to obey Him and follow Him so that we can fully live for His glory.
I had lived most of my life in the southern part of the United States before I became a missionary. My values were like the people around whom I had been raised. I spoke their language and lived by their values. When I moved to Europe, it took some time to begin learning another language, what the values and customs were, and how to live and prosper in the new land where I now lived.
So it is with us when we become believers. We have lived in the land of darkness and moved to a new country of light. It will also take us a while to grow into the new ways— to learn the language and messages of God, to understand the values and priorities of our new place, and to grow comfortable in obeying the new laws.
Christian maturity, then, is a process of growing closer to our heavenly Father each day, giving up the ways of our past life, and learning to grow in the ways of His kingdom. Let these verses help you remember what He considers important in your becoming His child.
DEUTERONOMY 6:5 (NLT) And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.
MATTHEW 22:37 (NIV) Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
These two verses are the centerpiece of what God desires of us when we put our faith in Christ. His desire is that we love Him deeply, and that we love Him from our heart—the center of all that we value and all of our affections. He wants us to love Him with our soul—our personality, interests, pleasures, skills, appetites, habits, feasting, living, and in all of our activities and being. He desires us to worship Him in the thoughts of our mind, our ponderings, our ideas, and what we allow to enter into our minds and affect our thinking—what we read, watch, listen to, and who we follow. It is a whole life commitment.
Christianity isn’t just a theological idea or a commandment to be kept. Becoming a Christian is not just about having salvation for eternity when we die. But it is a way of living, growing, and loving for the rest of our lives. We leave the kingdom of darkness — this world and its ways — and become people of light. We are adopted into His family with a new allegiance to our King, His Kingdom, and His ways, and we move every day out of loving obedience to serve Him.
Christian means “Christ in one,” and so when we become believers in Christ, His Spirit begins to form our heart to become like His heart, to give us the love Christ embodied, to teach us obedience to righteous ways that will give us wisdom and stability, and to grow stronger every day in our personal relationship with Him.
Receiving Christ into our lives will change every aspect of our lives and the way we live them. God incarnate means that He comes inside of the very “meat” of our lives–carnem in Latin means meat or flesh, carne in Spanish means flesh. So to incarnate Christ means He lives incarnate, in our very flesh or the meat of our bodies. God lives His life through us. God is an artist, a father, a lover, a husband, a cook, a shepherd, a savior, a teacher, a healer, an obedient son, and so much more. When we love Him and become His, we will become His light, His creativity, His love, His redemption, His truth, His care, and so forth, as He lives through us. When people come to know us, they will come to understand the reality of God.
Loving Christ with all of our hearts means we will turn all that we value to Him, allowing Him to be the centerpiece, so that we are shaping our actions and faith after the One who was embodied God.
Hebrews 1:3a tells us, “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.” So to follow God means we must ponder and obey the ways of Jesus and allow Him to incarnate our lives—to live through our very flesh.
• How can you love God this way?
• What does it mean to love Him with all your heart? Mind? Soul?
• How might loving God with your heart affect or direct your affections—the things you treasure? The ways you live out your personality and desires and dreams with His Spirit giving strength, love, and wisdom through you?
MATTHEW 6:21 (NLT) Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
• Your soul includes your personality, will, character, etc. How will you love God with all your soul? What areas might require some training, discipline, repentance, and/or prayer if we’re going to be able to truly say we love Him this way?
• What about loving God with all your mind? How does the fact that you love God affect what you read, what you’re willing to take into your mind, the way you worship, and the thoughts you cherish?