Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Put your heart into it!

"I saw, that giving even all my life to God (supposing it possible to do this, and go no farther) would profit me nothing, unless I gave my heart, yea, all my heart, to him."

Wesley, John. The Works of John Wesley: Addresses, Essays, and Letters
electronic ed. Albany, OR: Ages Software, 2000. A Plain Account of Christian Perfection.

It was in the small fifth grade Sunday School room at Community Alliance Church in Butler, PA, where my teacher led me in a sinner's prayer.  It was in this very room at 10:35AM in the early 1980s that I ask Jesus into my life.  In the handwriting of a ten-year-old boy, I wrote the details of this day in the front of my Bible.  This Bible is still with me and it has a prominent place on my shelf in my office today.  Even though I asked Jesus into my life at the age of 10, it was not until I was a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh that I gave God my heart.  I asked Him into my heart at 10, but I didn't allow Him to have control until I was 18.

Jesus summed up all of the laws with this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength and to love your neighbor as yourself (Mt 22:37).  Before my freshman year of college, I couldn't help but think that I had not been loving God like this let alone loving others like myself.  I asked myself what it meant to love God with all my heart.  I asked what it meant to love God with all my soul, mind, and strength.  A crisis in my faith ensued as I began to seriously consider the practical implications of lovingly responding to such a command as this.

John Wesley's words above remind me that our heart is at "the heart" of our lives.  It reminds me that I need to remember that my Christian walk is not an island by itself.  Rather, my Christian walk and my love for God must be at the heart of who I am and all I do.  It is not something that I do just on Sundays.  With God's help, I allow it to infiltrate every nook and cranny of my life.  

I heard an athletic coach tell his players some time ago to "put their heart" in it.  What was he telling them?  He wanted them to put their all in the game.  I hear the same encouragement coming from John Wesley: "Put your heart into your Christian walk!  Give it your all!"  

I am afraid many have become slack in our Christian life.  I am afraid many have surrendered too much ground in our churches.  Where is our urgency to further God's kingdom?  Where is our urgency to pray and worship and love God?  Where is our passion to reach the lost?  Where is our fire to allow the love of God to so bubble in our hearts that it overflows into every other area of our lives?  Unfortunately, we are compartmentalized people.  We have our work life, our play life, our Christian life, and our social life.  Unfortunately, many Christians have not allowed our Christian life to leave its compartment and affect the other compartments in our life.  Poke holes in the barriers and compartments and allow your Christian life to affect the way we work, play, and socialize.  Put your heart into loving God and allow it to touch every other part of who you are.

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