Think about the many things people sink their time and energy into, from hobbies and interests to relationships. We don't want to live passive, empty lives but long to find meaning and purpose. God knows this. He has put this desire in every person.
People are looking for things to captivate them and bring a sense of fulfillment. It's interesting that when Jesus lays out the most important commandment for humanity, He starts with loving the Lord with ALL of your heart and then continues down the shortlist.
Mark 12:30 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."
If we are told to love the Lord with all our hearts, I would think that we ought to pursue its meaning. What does that mean to love God with all our hearts, and how do we go about doing it? These are huge questions that need to be answered.
RECOGNIZE THAT OUR AFFECTIONS DETERMINE OUR DEVOTION
First, let's determine what the heart is all about. The arena of the heart contains powerful emotions, affections, and desires. Our affections are deep currents that steer our lives. Think of our affections as a rudder of a ship that directs our lives.
Affections wait to be captured. They long to cling to someone or something, and wherever these affections are found, our hearts will be. To determine where our affections lie, we have to discern what occupies our time, what motivates our actions, what shapes our aspirations and their rewards.
UNDERSTAND THAT OUR AFFECTIONS FOLLOW WHAT WE TREASURE
The devotion of our hearts is determined by what or whom we value as our greatest treasure.
Matt. 6:21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be."
Reread this slowly. "Where your treasure is...your heart will be."
I would suggest memorizing this short phrase. Jesus just gave us the answer on how to love God with all our hearts. The heart loves what it treasures! We have to seek a great treasure, and when we discover it, the affections of our heart follows. Ironic. The treasure comes first, and the heart comes second.
Matt. 13:44 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then, in his joy, went and sold all he had and bought that field."
For the heart to love Jesus completely, it must treasure Him supremely. Our affections are the outcome of what we treasure. When we truly encounter the Lord in His glory and worth, loving Him with all our hearts will be the result.
AIM TO MAKE JESUS YOUR GREATEST TREASURE
For the Apostle Paul, THE treasure of his life was Christ. The loss of everything else was nothing compared to gaining Christ.
Phil. 3:8 "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ."
Eph. 3:8 "...this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ."
Here is a picture of a man who found a treasure that exceeds all others - Jesus. Nothing else comes close! The glory of Jesus is so amazing and satisfying that once discovered; all else pales in comparison. When we divert our attention away from the Lord, our love will begin to grow cold. It's that simple.
Hearts with misplaced affections lead to stagnant lives and church. The greatest treasure is lost, and it is no longer Christ but something or someone else.
SPEND TIME WITH THE LORD AND LET HIS LIGHT SHINE IN YOUR HEART
2 Cor. 4:6-7 "For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."
Choosing to spend time with the Lord and live connected to Him keeps the fires of our hearts burning. Worship and evangelism come easily. Meaning, purpose, security and confidence are alive and active. We live from the overflow, and those around us know it.
START NOW - INITIAL STEPS TO CONSIDER
We have to decide to pursue Him. Just pray it to the Lord: "Jesus, I long for You to be my ultimate treasure. Help me and give me the power to do so! Fill me your love, and place this desire in my heart." Pray this often.
Start with the Bible. Open it and search out what it says about the glory of who Jesus is and what He has done. If you don't know where to start, go to the Gospels.
Make adjustments. How will you grow into this reality? The ideas you come up with, I would suggest you write them down and begin acting on them.
Spend time with the Lord. He delights in you. He wants to be with you and reveal Himself to you. He enjoys you! Set time aside to be with Him only.
Before You Go
Question: How valuable do you see this simple truth? How important is this to our foundation in the Christian life? What has the Lord taught you about loving Him with all your heart?