PR ISAAC CHANG
Years ago, I was meditating on Deut 6:5 or Shema in Hebrew. “Yahweh our God, Yahweh is one,” which resonated mentally and spiritually in me. There were no other gods like Yahweh who delivered Israel from slavery out of His mercy. He alone established the unique covenant relationship with Israel. Similarly, He uniquely came into my life, a sinner, and a lost soul. On the night of hearing the gospel, He revealed to me that He is the one true God when I stepped forward in tears to receive Christ.
When I continued to meditate on the second part of the Shema, to love God with all my heart, soul, and strength, I found it very difficult. It is to align all of myself to love God. I have to line up my heart as in my inner man, my soul as in my living being, and my strength as in my might; to form my undivided commitment to love God. Everything inside and outside of me shall love God. All of me is driven only in one direction with one force. My whole being forged as one entity to love God. I know if I ‘achieve’ that oneness of myself, there is nothing I can’t do to show my love for God.
First, I shall share the ‘why’ before explaining the ‘how.’ Why? God loved me when He brought me to a Christian fellowship group to hear the message of the kingdom. God loved me when He gave me His truth, His people, and His Spirit. God loved me with all the encounters and experiences of God in every high and low of my life. And the best of all, God still loves me, a sinner, a follower, and a disciple. His love never ceases! Though there were times I doubted, at the end of that low, God always appeared there embracing me and teaching me His timeless truth. The ‘why’ is our faith that is founded on a relationship with God who loves us.
Now the ‘how’ part. As the ‘why’ part begins with God and the ‘how’ part shall continue with God. And it shall begin with our hearts. Whether it is a new journey or a lesson we begin in our devotion or a surprise detour, it always boils down to our heart's response as a form of our love for God. Not all of us have the same backgrounds and spirituality. But our response could be
i) mortifying our carnality or the widely accepted norm in the world with a prayer “Lord, let Your will be done.”
ii) struggling with defensive and self-justifying prayers, “Why me? Why not him? Leave me alone.”
iii) ignoring everything with prayers like, “Not now and I’m busy. Besides, I’m not ready.”
Our hearts, our inner man can play politics with God like how we deal with politics at home, in marketplaces, and even church. We can be superficial and cold in our love for God. A similar response happens in how we relate to one another. Remember the word for David, “to obey is better than sacrifice.” Shaping our heart’s purity towards obedience is the key. Dealing with our inner man’s thoughts and will is a real challenge. And mortifying what is not pleasing to God in our hearts can be painful. God knows. So, don’t give up our hearts, but give it up to God!
How to love the LORD our God with whom we have a relationship is to allow God to come into our hearts. There, we surrender to Him in all our weaknesses, in all our genuine pleadings, and in all our hope in Him. Then the rest of our being and might will follow our hearts. May this brief sharing be an encouragement for us to love God fully!