If there is to be a serious observance of the commandment to love God with all the heart, mind, and soul (Matt. 22:37), then some practical steps must be taken to comply.
First, the heart must draw near to God. The Psalmist said, “But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works” (Ps. 73:28). The heart draws near to God by having good thoughts of Him and not bad. No one is going to draw near someone they believe will hurt them. Adam and Eve ran from God because they thought He was going to hurt them. In loving kindness, God had to seek out His creation, and He did. Yes, God judged their sin, and righteousness was administered. But God never stopped loving Adam and Eve, and found a way to be reconciled to them through the shedding of blood. The blood of Christ applied to our lives and to our defiled conscience allows God to have fellowship with us and we with Him on the basis of love. Therefore, draw near to God with good thoughts so that love will be free to flow.
Second, the heart must stay near to God. When a person is in love, no matter what they do during the day their thoughts turn often to the one who holds great affection in their hearts. The words of Ephesians 5:19-20 will help the believer stay near to God. “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” There is nothing wrong in making up songs of the Lord and singing to oneself. There is nothing wrong with giving God thanks all the day long for His goodness and grace. It is very pleasing to Him. But through it all there must be a God consciousness in life.
Third, the heart must be kept only for God if there is to be genuine love and affection for Him. This means that in the moment of temptation a choice has to be made not to do wrong. Most Christians know all too well the strength of sin, and so must become more determined to do right.
“Let God arise, and by His might
Let all His foes be put to flight;
But O ye righteous, gladly sing,
Exult before your God and King.
“Jehovah’s praises sound abroad
Rejoice before the living God;
Prepare the way that He may come
And make the desert places bloom.”
A. W. Tozer wrote an article once with the title, We Must Have Better Christians. One of the ways to have better Christians is to have Christians who determine to do better by God’s grace and accept responsibility for their attitude and actions. And then, knowing the heart is prone to wonder the Christian pleads:
“Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,
Look upon a little child;
Pity my simplicity,
Suffer me to come to Thee.
“Lamb of God, I look to Thee;
Thou shalt my Example be;
Thou art gentle, meek, and mild;
Thou wast once a little child.
“Lord, I would be as Thou art;
Give me Thine obedient heart;
Thou art pitiful and kind,
Let me have Thy loving mind.
“Let me, above all, fulfill,
God my heav’nly Father’s will;
Never His good Spirit grieve;
Only to His glory live.
“Loving Jesus, gentle Lamb,
In Thy gracious hands I am;
Make me, Savior, what Thou art,
Live Thyself within my heart.”
When God sees a desire to keep His commandments, He is pleased to move to help those whose heart is focused on Him. May God see that desire in our hearts today, tomorrow, and forever. Amen.