As I wondered what to write for this post, I started to reflect on the year, all that has happened—my husband’s cancer diagnosis, a work crisis, and an ongoing heartache of a broken relationship…this song came into my mind.
“I Love You, Lord”
p style=”text-align: center;”>I love you, Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You
Oh, my soul, rejoice!
p style=”text-align: center;”>Take joy my King
In what You hear
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound
In Your ear
With the words “I love you, Lord.”—the Great Commandment of God comes to my mind.
And a certain lawyer [an expert in Mosaic Law] stood up to test Him, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”
And he replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.”
Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this habitually and you will live.”
Let’s get thoroughly acquainted with the word, “all”.
Synonyms for all
The word “all” when understood and applied, makes saying this flippantly—”I shall love the Lord my God with all my heart”—a tough thing to do.
Do I love God with all or only some my heart?
And to continue,
and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind;
Lastly, the outward doing from the inward being of loving God with our all—”and love your neighbour as yourself.” (This is still part of God’s Great Commandment)
Seriously, have I loved others like how I want to be loved?
Just from this commandment comes a floodgate of reflections that can be summed up with these two central questions. Perhaps you may want to use some of these questions for your year-end reflection too.
How have I loved God this year?
And how have I loved others?
To expand the questions:
How have I loved God this year?
Have I given Him priority?
Have I given Him my best time, or have I dished out leftovers to Him in my daily quiet time?
Have I grown in my understanding of Him?
Have I drawn closer to Him?
Have I honoured Him with my thoughts, actions, and words?
How have I loved others?
Have I given my time to others in spite of a busy life? (who’s not busy?!)
Have I forgiven people who’ve hurt me?
Have I shared with people about the love of God?
Have I honoured others?
Have I loved people that I dislike (or they dislike me)?
Just asking myself these questions revealed to me how far I am in living out God’s all. Yet, I’m immensely grateful that “it’s ok!”.
It is ok because…
‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, ‘ (Romans 3:23, NIV)
There’s that “all” word again. Meaning, everyone falls short of the Perfect one.
Finding that hard to accept? Ask ourselves, have we ever lied?
There you go.
But then, the Bible verse continues…
Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. (Romans 3:24, Message)
So, it’s ok because although my sins have been paid by Christ; I’m still a work-in-progress human being on earth. And it’ll be a lifetime struggle to be Christlike. But my prayer is He will enable me to love Him more and to love others as He’d love them.
And that makes this year (cancer, crisis, and all), an awesome one because He is in my life. And I have life through Him.
I hope that the questions above may guide you into a deeper reflection of the things that matter most.
I pray that in 2018, your joy would come from a source that’s independent of circumstances and the ups & downs of life. That you’ll love and you’ll be loved—because you are loved by God.
And I asked all these in His loving name, amen.