Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
This command was given by Moses to the Israelites and then again by Jesus himself, many generations later. It’s an impossible command, right? How can we possibly love God with “ALL” of our heart, soul and strength?
We are human. We can’t love God all the time…24/7!
We are messed up and selfish most of the time. We choose other things. No matter how much we try to fulfill this command, we will always fall short. But to disobey any command of God is sin, so what can we do?
As I began to process this, I tried to think of something that I could say that without a shadow of doubt I love with this kind of love. If it’s impossible for me to love God like this, is there anything that I could kinda love with this “ALL IN” type of passion? It’s embarrassing, but I am going to be gut level honest here. With no hesitation I thought, “I love chocolate cake!”
Now, I know what you are thinking…why didn’t she pick her husband or her mother…but hang with me on this one. I’m going somewhere with this.
I love chocolate cake. It can almost be a spiritual experience for me when it’s warmed up, with a couple scoops of vanilla ice cream. Yum! I think it’s because I grew up exposed to chocolate cake done right. My mom let me lick the bowl, the cake smell would fill the whole house while it was baking, and it was totally acceptable for us to eat it for dinner, for breakfast….whatever. That’s just the kind of family I grew up with. Many times as a young person, chocolate cake was the greatest reason to get up in the morning.
Then, just recently, while we were out of town for a women’s conference, I had Portillos chocolate cake. It’s made with mayonnaise, and it was life changing. I left the restaurant with three extra pieces, and my mom, sister and I ate them for dinner that night. Just like the good ole’ days.
When I got home from conference I told my husband about the mayo cake, and he had to look up the recipe to see if we could make it. We ran out to Walmart, got the ingredients, made the cake and ate it until we were both sick.
This kind of love is familiar for us, isn’t it? Most of us can think of something we are deeply affectionate for. We easily spend all of our free time doing the things that we love. We dream about them, spend money on them, talk about them, care about them, argue about them, cry over them, have panic attacks over them. Spend time with young kids and take away their videos games and you will see an example of what I mean. Listen to the heart cry of a young person that just went through a breakup. You’ll see this kind of love. Our obsessions, passions, are the things that cause us to get up in the morning, and stay up late at night!
All the things that we love…more than we love God.
Is this okay with God? Some would say, “God is understanding…surely He is okay with us lacking in our passion for Him and choosing other things as our focus from time to time. I mean, He gave us these things…and He wants us to be happy, sooo…what’s the big deal?”
I think the “Big deal” is the end result. When we love the things of this world more than God, we always end up with a spiritual tummy ache. Our lives end up sick. Just like with cake, the things of this world satisfy for a time, but they never last. Only God does.
And God’s ways are so much better than our ways. When we truly know God and understand His great love for us, we can’t help but to want to keep His commands. When we choose Him first, we always see a better outcome. We are filled with purpose, righteousness, and hope. We do not become entangled in a web of sin that always, ALWAYS catches up to us.
So, put down your chocolate cake, or whatever your “quick fix” to happiness is, and seek after the Lord. It may feel tough at first as you choose to deny yourself of immediate pleasures, but God has a much more fulfilling adventure for you. He is just waiting for you to choose Him. He’s just waiting for you to fully understand his great love for you so you will go after Him with “ALL your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your strength.” What are you waiting for? He’s already chosen you.