Can heaven look down and say that I am making progress in loving God with everything I’ve got?
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.' 31 The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
INSIGHT: I used to believe the best way I could show God love was through my emotional expression during praise and worship. I see many people, including myself for years, who can express deep emotion during worship service, but then be walking comfortably in sin, just hours later. God sees all of that worship as false love, when not matched with righteous living. I even saw a popular pastor teach in his book that God’s love language is worship. That is only partly true; he did not even mention obedience (99% of the truth is still a lie). The Bible teaches that God’s primary love language is obedience (1 Kings 3:3, John 14:15, 1 John 5:3). If we don’t know this, we will hear, “You honored me with your lips, but your hearts were far from me.”
God had been prompting me, for many months, to memorize huge amounts of Scripture. It is extremely hard for me, and my brain wants to drift to anything but memorizing. I felt great pressure because I love Him so much, and I want to please Him by obeying Him (John 14:31). It would get so hard for me that a few times I cried out, “I know your main love language is obedience Father, but you just didn’t make me smart in this way, but you still know that I love you very much.”
Then, one day, I was headed to the prayer trail and I caught the tail end of a radio broadcast by Dr. Chuck Missler. I had met Chuck briefly at a conference years ago, and I walked away saying, “I think I just met the smartest Christian man that has ever lived.” He has likely forgotten more than I have ever known. It’s quite odd to see someone with a brain like his, who also cares so much about Jesus. I arrived at the trail, and just a few minutes into my prayer walk, I was again talking to the Lord about the difficulty I was having in obeying Him in this. I was passionately reminding Him how much I loved Him, but also reminding Him that He didn’t make me smart like Chuck. In a very playful moment I looked up and loudly said, “Remember Lord, be patient with me on this because you made me more emotional than intellectual, and just look how much affection I feel and express toward you…I bet Chucky doesn’t give you this kind of love does he? It was such a tender and funny moment. I sensed the Lord smiling at my silly human reasoning, but it still didn’t get me off the hook of obeying Him.
What I realized, in that moment, was a richer meaning of Mark 12:30 and what it means to distinctly love God with all of our heart (I’m good at this part), our soul (this part too), our mind (not so much), and with all our strength. God wants us to love Him with everything we have, and some of that comes as easily as breathing to us, while the other areas require absolute dependence on His grace. God demands that we love Him even in our weak areas, but never apart from the grace to actually do so. Praise God, I have memorized more Scripture than I ever thought possible, all because He is helping me do what I cannot do on my own.