Journal Entry // May 24, 2022
provided you are careful to keep all this commandment, which I command you today, by loving the LORD your God and by walking ever in his ways—then you shall add three other cities to these three,Deuteronomy 19:9 ESV
For the past two years, I have been working to focus on what it means to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. When I first started this endeavor, I thought I would take a year on each aspect beginning with the heart. Yet, here I am over two years on and I am still learning what it means to love God with all my heart. I’m still learning that God’s Word is full of commandments, phrases, stories, and warnings to put my obedience into action through engaging my heart. This passage is the same message that is repeated over and over throughout the Books of Moses. In order to keep the commandments of God, I must walk in His ways and I must love Him. Not one or the other. I need both.
How am I to walk in His ways if I do not love him and engage with Him in my heart? It’s impossible. That is just a cold, dry, dispassionate, begrudging obedience simply done to fulfill what is required. I can be a good citizen of my country if I simply follow the laws, but the Lord requires more than merely following the letter of the law. He wants my heart engaged with him. He wants a deep loving relationship with me. So simply following the rules for the sake of following the rules or because that is what is expected of me is not what God is after.
The commandments are there for my good. They are there for my protection. They are there because the God of the universe loves me completely. They are there because the commandments are a reflection of God’s holiness. His commandments are there to lead and draw me closer to Himself. His commandments express his love for me!
Walk in his ways with love as my motivation. This is the essential key to faithfulness. Obedience is not a drudgery. Obedience is not simply ticking a box on a task list. Obedience is an expression of my deep love for Christ. In humbleness I acknowledge that the commandments of Christ are perfect and true. I give up my own selfish desires that keep me locked in slavery to sin and I embrace the righteous path of obedience to Christ. Not because I need to perform and look good. Not because I feel guilty about my sin. Not because I am trying to earn his love. I walk in his ways by engaging Christ with my heart because I love him.
This is all there is to know. Simple and basic. I want to simply love Christ. I don’t want to love him as if he is the first item on a list of things I love. No, I want to love Christ in all that I do. How do I love my wife and kids? Through loving Christ. How to I love my job? Through loving Christ. How do I love and engage with the people in this world? Through loving Christ. Loving Christ with all my heart is the message. Here is my fulfillment and contentment in this life. Not in things and not in reputation. Fulfillment in this holy relationship with my risen Savior. The one who is gentle and kind. The one who is steadfast and faithful. The one who loves me completely.