…Love…

I’ve been reading and studying a lot over the last month to prepare for teaching at the BSU this semester.  Here’s where I’ve landed: love.

This is going to be our study point, our springboard, if you will, into the life that Christ called us to.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

This shows up in one form or another in Luke 10, Matthew 22, and Mark 12 … and we see where Jesus is quoting this from Deuteronomy 6.

I don’t have any idea how long it will take us to walk through this little section of a passage of Scripture … but I know it won’t be a quick study.  I mean really … what will it take to just begin to scratch the surface of the kind of love that we are called to and is commanded of us (this is the Great Commandment)?  This is an easy passage to read, and not really consider.  Jesus commands us to love with our entirety.  What does it mean to love with all of our heart?  Our soul?  Our mind?  Our strength?  And what needs to be removed from our lives in order to do that?

As I consider what it means to live that kind of love on our college campus I’m bombarded with the fact that culture is rapidly changing … what was once an effective ministry has little impact now … what was once an effective way of communicating is now considered “stone age”  (I heard of a girl this week who sends over 18,000 texts a month … and has relatively few phone calls).  The fact that the culture is changing so rapidly around us leads me to think that our old “methods” may not be the right ones anymore.  HEAR ME NOW … the MESSAGE has not and will not change, but the METHOD of how we relay that message must change if we are going to effectively engage the ever-changing culture around us.  This isn’t just the case on college campuses, the culture is changing around you no matter where you are … take a day and observe your surroundings and then compare that to a “normal” day from the last 2, 5 or 10 years and see what changes you find.

… that was a tangent. I have read and heard this statistic (and there is a lot of debate over what is the most accurate percentage) … George Barna and his research group say that roughly 60% of Christian students (we are talking about Christians here … who were involved in church through high school) will leave church after high school.  Mark Batterson, author of “Primal” (which you can see my review HERE) says that the question we are tempted to ask when we see this happen is “what is wrong with this generation?”  when in reality the question we should be asking is “what is wrong with the Church?” (Big “C” Church) Maybe we’re not loving like we are called to here in the Great Commandment … if students are leaving the church at this rate, then we obviously aren’t portraying a compelling picture of Christ by the way we are loving them.

Ezekiel 36:26-28

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. You will live in the land I gave to your forefathers; you will be my people and I will be your God.”

At the moment of salvation, when you give your heart to Christ … He gives you His heart, and this act of love should cause us to love differently, because we now have the heart of Christ!  What breaks His heart should break our hearts, and the way that we see Him loving should be the way that we are loving.

The answer that Jesus gave to that teacher of the law when he asked ‘what is the greatest commandment’ … that answer seems like a really simple one when we read it … I mean he boils it down to a couple of sentences ( if you include “the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself”) … how I wish it really was that easy! We’re gonna take it one word at a time in our Bible study, this week: Love the Lord your God with all your heart…

… trying to learn what it means to love the Lord my God with all of my heart this week …

Thoughts on what it means to love God with all your heart?

-E

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