Mark 12:30- The “Secret” of Total Engagement
Father, we want to delight in your word. We want it to renew our mind, we want to follow what it says. All of us, each one of us here this morning, need a moment of just quietness, Lord, to prepare for your word.
This moment as we approach, receiving your word, this is powerful, Lord, this is the miraculous moment where your word can take root in a life and save someone, this is the moment where you can change someone, where you can free them from a sin they’ve been struggling with where you can give them hope, and these things happen by the power of your Holy Spirit as He moves through your words, so I ask that you would do that now. Pray that each of us here would be ready listeners, we asked this in your precious name. Amen.
Turn your bibles with me please, to Mark Chapter 12. Mark chapter 12. So uh… we were going through Exodus, we made it through the 20th of Exodus, and we finished last week with the 10th command, and my plan is to pick that series back up at some point this fall, and I look forward to finishing that series, in fact, these next couple of sermons were some of the sermons that I was maybe looking forward to most, but the spirit of God was moving in me to perhaps take a slight break from that and to open the word to a different area to challenge you from.
And so I try to be obedient when the spirit moves me in that way, and that’s what we’re doing today. In this past week, I’ve been trying to figure out, Okay, what will the next handful of weeks look like, and I think I have an idea of how to structure these next weeks. I have been moved lately by a number of conversations I’ve had with people, how often people are missing a specific aspect of their spiritual growth process, and so I’ve titled this series, if you wanna look at it like that, at least probably the next six weeks, including this week, The Secret, The Secrets of Spiritual Growth. Now, what I’m offering to you is not anything that hasn’t been taught in church history, it’s not some secret that I only I know of, if I ever start preaching like that, then run.
Alright, but the forgotten truths, they’re truths that are often not triumphed in Christianity, preachers don’t preach about including myself as often as I should, and as a result of that, they’re not lived in, they’re not remembered, and I… We’re robbing ourselves by not remembering these secrets of the power we need to grow in our spiritual lives, love our God the way he deserves, and to pursue him with everything we are, and so that’s what these next six weeks are, and this week today is… I thought the best way to open this because I’ve had several conversations with people around this very topic over the last few months… Alright? So this week is the secret of total engagement.
The secret of total engagement. You are in Mark Chapter 12. I want you to look at Verse 30.This is Jesus quoting the summary of the law that’s found in Deuteronomy, and he says in verse 30, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. And I’m gonna make a full stop there, and that’s what we’re gonna be today, I want to help you engage every part of who you are in your pursuit of Jesus Christ, ’cause I think so often we only pursue God with one part.
Typically, it’s the part we’re strong with, so I’m gonna target three different areas today, that’s what we’re gonna talk about. I wanna help you with this. The three areas I wanna focus on are the mind, the heart, and what I’ll call the Will, it’s the word strength here in the Old Testament, it’s the Word might or a really fun translation of it that isn’t an English word, but you can make it an English word is muchness with all the… Muchness with the overflow of everything you are, it has the idea of effort and that’s the will that we’re looking for, so I’m gonna target those three categories, now understand something really clearly right off the bat, the Bible does not draw super clear lines between these three things… In fact, there’s a lot of overflow… Imagine you guys know what a vendiagram is? There’s three circles, and different Bible verses will actually use the word heart, and what do mean is something like your passions, but also something like your thoughts, and sometimes it’ll use the word heart and it’ll be saying, Therefore do not lose heart as in make sure you keep putting forth effort.
So that has to do with the will.
So there’s a lot of overlap in these words, but I also think that these words are used to show a distinction in our makeup and help you understand the interior of who you are and how you might pursue God with each part of the interior of who you are…. the inside of who you are.
So we’re gonna talk about the heart, the mind, and the strength. Now, just stop for a second. Full stop here, I want you to think about it. I want you to think about maybe the area your strongest in of those three things.
Imagine if somebody had the mind in a good place, but not the will or the heart… What do they look like?
They oftentimes will look like somebody who knows good theology and is the one who gets on arguments in Facebook, but they’re the ones who also have these tendencies to not follow up with good conduct, and when you talk to them, they’re more ready to discuss an issue than they are to revel and love and talk about a passion for Jesus Christ in the relationship for him.
So imagine for a second, somebody who’s may be strong in heart, but is not strong in mind or will… What are they like?
Oh, these are the people who may be get really stirred up emotionally with uh, uh, somebody who’s preaching and maybe they get stirred up with a song and they’re very moved by it, and they have this kind of wishy-washy love-dovey relationship with God that is not followed up with active obedience, and frankly does not have a mindset that matches up with what the Bible says a Christian’s mindset ought to be, so imagine somebody that might have the will, but not the mind or the heart… What are they like?
I’ve seen people like this, these people have a tendency to be the ones who love self-help books that are Christian-y… Not really Christian, but Christian-y, and they love setting goals for their life and they love improving themselves, and they love the growth aspect of things, but they have a really tough time ever having a warmth to them in their relationship with God.
They have a really tough time ever understanding what the Word says in having the mindset about pursuing God the way he deserves.
Okay, those are those three. Now, most of us are probably gonna be strong in two of those areas and weak in one… Alright, I can tell you what mine is right now, I’ll start with that one.
Alright, my tendency is to be strong toward mind and heart, and weak toward will.
So in other words, I know the right things.
Alright, I grew up in a pastors home, right Dad? So I grew up going to a Christian school, we had bible class every day. From the time I was 12 to about the time I was like 22, I didn’t miss a single day in my Bible reading or study… Alright, I’ve been like in… In it, I know the Word of God. I also have this heart that a lot of times is… I have a heart for God, and I had this passion and a love for who he was, and I could be moved in the soul by who he is, but I leaned on those two things, and I thought if I had those two things that my actions would just fall into line. And what ended up happening was, I was stationary in my spiritual life for many years, ’cause I did not have the will, the effort to back it up.
What about somebody who is strong in maybe mind and will… What are they like?
Well, this would be… The old legalist or the young legalist, somebody who knows the Word of God, and who is set up all of these perimeters, whereby they’re going to make sure that they’re really moral and good people, and yet they talk very little about a love for Jesus Christ.
Okay, what about the last one? The one who would be will and heart. Honestly, I think of all the three, this is probably the closest. But these ones, the ones who have a lot of will and a lot of heart for God, but not a lot of knowledge, tend towards naivety… These are the ones who get swept up in holds tricks, the testes, these are the ones also who get swept up in a movement that maybe is Bible-ish but not biblical, it sounds very Bible-ish when it’s talked about, and so they feel like they ought to do that, so they commit everything to doing that thing, and a lot of times they burn out and they find, “Oh, what happened here?”
Well, they didn’t maybe understand the biblical mindset about that.
I’ve gone through all of these, but there’s actually two more, we’ll deal with the last one at the end, but the one that I wanna mention here, there are those who have none of the three right now… And some of you are in this room today.
You might have understood the Bible from the time you’re young, but you’re not thinking biblically right now about your life, your dry… You’re not delighting in God, you’re not pursuing obedience to Him. Now, there is a path forward for you today, there is a path forward for you today… And we’ll get to this, but I want you to understand what this command says.
This command says, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength. Are you obeying that command?
There’s not a single one of us in here who is obeying that command, in the old reformed catechism, One of the things that they would say is that it’s possible to break God’s law by commission and omission. How many of you have heard of that before?
A few of you. Great, so it’s possible to break God’s law by commission, which is where you commit an act of sin, where God says don’t lie in you lie, but it’s also possible to break God’s law by omission, which is God has a perfect standard of righteousness that you fail to meet up with, you’re not just going the opposite direction, you’re also not loving God in this example, with all your heart, I want you to understand a high standard that’s put in front of you, and I want you to understand why this standard is so important…
God deserves to be loved with everything. It’s not just an empty command, it’s not just an empty rule, I want you to hear this, God deserves to be loved with everything, he’s a unimaginable perfection, and therefore it is a reasonable request that His creation would choose to love Him in His perfection, and is a travesty when they don’t… Do you hear that, I’ll give you an example to hopefully give this… There are two couples.
You got a husband, wife over here, husband and wife over there… Your husband and wife at A and B ……A over here.
Husband’s a great husband. Loves his wife. provides. Listens. is careful. Doesn’t bicker or fight? cares for the children, serves constantly. Does not use his time selfishly, is very sacrificial. Just a great husband. Okay, the wife cheats on that husband… Right, hold that for a second.
You got husband, wife B over here. husband’s not a good husband.
He’s a bad husband, he’s selfish with his time, he’s manipulative, he’s argumentative, he’s constantly putting his spouse down, and to top all that off, he cheats on his spouse.
Alright, which one committed? The greater travesty.
Now, you might wanna say, Well, it was even, and that’s theologically correct, but we intuitively, in our heart, we know that it’s a greater sin to cheat on the better spouse. Right, we know that. Why do we know that?
Why do we intuitively understand that it’s a greater sin because that spouse, the good one, in one sense deserved to be loved, they were so ideal, and when you forsake that love, it’s a travesty, and over here, we know it’s wrong that they did that, but we’re also kind of like, Yeah, that’s a sin. They shouldn’t have done that, but we kinda understand too.
Why is that?
Well, the answer, if you apply this to God, God is a perfect God, think about our God, most holy three and one, think about the God who is above time, I was reading about this this week, the God above time, God is not eternal in the sense that we think. God is above time.
In other words, past, present and future are all the same to him right now.
Your past, your present and your future are the same to God, He is above that. You might change with time. Your knees might get bad, your wrists might start hurting, your hair might start falling out, or graying, might start struggling with something one day and not the next, you change with time, God is unchanged by time, he’s unimaginable, perfect, and that God who lives in eternity has reached out through eternity through His son Jesus Christ, to enter a world that is in time and to extend a love for us, even though we were still sinners, a God who is unimaginable perfect in His knowledge, who has unimaginable sovereignty above all things and is absolutely in control, that God has extended His hand through His son Jesus Christ, and invited sinners to come and be his children.
That’s amazing. And you’re a stunned by that, if I’m not stunned by that there’s something wrong with us with our heart. That God deserves to be loved with all our mind, with all our heart, with all our strength, he deserves it.
So I wanna transition here to talk about each one of these elements a little bit, and then we’ll close with talking about the final category, somebody who has all three… All three of these in perfect love.
First one is your mind. I want you to understand one of the secrets of your engagement with God, one of the secrets of your growth in your spiritual life is that you engage your mind.
Romans 1:21 says, Although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to him, they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
It is possible to know of God and yet chose not to abide by a philosophy of life that is in line with a realization that God exists.
You know what a philosophy is, it’s not just like things for people to debate, it’s about how you live your life, what do you think about life, what are your assumptions about life?
And are you living them biblically? See, the person who says things like, I just don’t think God could ever forgive me, they’re not living by a biblical mindset, it sounds spiritual, It sounds humble, but the biblical mindset is not one of God refuses to forgive you if you mess up… The biblical mindset is, if you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. The biblical mindset is, how happy is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
How happy ss the one again soon, the Lord does not count iniquity. When I kept silent, my bones.
what does it say…crumbling basically within me, and he goes on to say, But then I acknowledged the guilt of my sin, and it says, You forgave me… The iniquity of my sin. When I acknowledged it.
You ever wonder why he didn’t just say, you forgave me sin.
You forgave my sin. Go do a word study on why he says, You forgave me. The iniquity of my sin.
Write that down. Go do that next week. I wanna hear what you have to say about it, ’cause I’ve been meditating on that for a long time, the Biblical mindset abides by a philosophy of life that says, God can forgive me, and if you’re saying God will never forgive me for this… That’s not a biblical mindset, so you have to engage your mind in the process of loving God and in the process of spiritual growth, you’ve gotta put on right thoughts… And this is all over the New Testament.
All over the New Testament, I’ll give you a couple, Romans 12, you know verses 1 and 2, right?
I urge you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God that He’s explained in chapters 1 to 11, that you would present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is a reasonable form of worship, it’s reasonable to God based off of the mercy he’s given to us, and then he says, And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by what?
The renewal of your mind, the renewing of your mind.
There was something about putting on the right way of thinking that is so essential to your spiritual lives, that’s why in chapter six, you’ll say the word, it depends on your translation, it’s actually a hard word to translate, you’ll say the word multiple times, count… If it’s the old KJV, consider…. if it’s the ESV, I’m not sure what some of the other translations have, but he’s saying, Consider yourself dead to sin and alive to righteousness. What does consider have to do with it, you’ve gotta put on the right mindset, this is what has happened to you, to live in the reality of that life, you see, you have to engage the mind.
I hear so many people saying, I don’t deserve this. I did deserve this. Did God forgive? Forget to me in my trial. Is God really out there? Does he really care about me as He forsaken me? They say things, and I’m one of them that are un-Biblical, they’re not true, they’re not right.
And you’ve gotta love the Lord, your God with all your mind, you’ve got to engage your mind in the process, because it was Dr. Martin Lord Jones, who said something really important, he was a famous evangelist back in the… A 20th century, he said something really important, said, Most of the problems that you and I have in our spiritual lives come from the fact that you and I spend too much time listening to ourselves and not enough time talking to ourselves, You have a whirlwind of thoughts that are going through your head constantly, some of which you’re right, and some of which are very not biblical, and you’ve got to capture those thoughts and put on the right thoughts, so here’s what… Here, an exercise you can do to help you engage in this, what are the lies you’re believing, list them out. Write them down. This is not like, think about him. I want you to write them down.
What are the lies you’re thinking and believing? I want you to write them out, ask a friend to help you parse out your heart in your mind, and then pick Bible verses that directly contradict those lives.
So for instance, I don’t think God can ever forgive me that When I sin, sometimes I feel that. Anyone else? I think that way.
And I need to go right away to the right way of thinking and say, no, if I confess my sin, He is faithful and just to forgive my sin and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness.
I need to put on the right way of thinking.
So that’s the first one, the second one is the heart….. engaging your heart in the process of love. And this is odd, right? ’cause most of us think when we think of love, we think of heart and not mind or will, but that’s just not the biblical way to think of love, love is bigger than that. In the Bible, love is about, Yes, heart and desire and passions, but love is also very much about thought, and love is also very much about will and action. If you love me, you’ll keep my commandments.
It’s right there. You gotta do something more than just, feel good thoughts. Feel good feelings.
Okay, now this one here though is also often neglected, and oftentimes, people tend to have the thought that, Well, I don’t feel like loving God right now, so I shouldn’t… Because it would be hypocritical.
Anyone? I’ve been there, I’ve done that, I don’t feel like loving God.
And I’ve also heard this thought, which is something along the lines of, I need to focus on the right things and then actions…… do the right actions, then my feelings will follow, and that’s somewhat true, but I would argue that it’s actually all three of these together that work and help one another, so there are gonna be times when your mind’s not right and you need to lock in, you need your heart’s passion to remember key spiritual truths to get your mind in the right place too. Often times you and I don’t agree with David when he says, I delight to do your will, oh my God, Your law is within my heart.
Often times we don’t delight ourselves in God like We should, oftentimes, we don’t love Him with all our heart like we should, Amen?… We don’t have a passion for him. That’s a problem. My question to you is, what do we do if that’s lacking? I want you to see this.
The command is to love the Lord your God with all your heart.
You don’t get an out because you’re not feeling it.
Okay? You don’t get it out.
A lot of times we have this tendency to think, well, my feelings are like that unbroken horse out there in the field. It’s gonna do whatever she wants. I can’t control her.
Right? and we think our feelings are like it, I can’t control my feelings, there’s no way I can, I don’t feel it.
And the Bible actually commands us to have certain feelings…. now, this is hard, especially today, if you are a bit be in and broken up by something in your life and you’re like, I’ve gotten nothing left, and I understand that. I understand that. I’ve been there. In fact, I’ve been there recently, but you can’t give yourself an out either, so the question is, How do we pursue God with our heart when we’re not feeling it, when we feel empty, when we feel dry in here. Are we just satisfied for the rest of our life to serve God, passion-less.
There’s a better way. I’ll give you some of the things that I do. You might have your own things, some people really love listening to good music, worship music, and that really helps stir their soul and I… There’s some song at ministered to them, some people like old hymns, some people like newer songs, some people like songs we sing our church, some people like other songs, and they stir passions for God to remind them and to help them have the right mind and have the right, will and all together, they’re gonna pursue the right things. I’m not one of those people. How many of you are song listeners to help you with that?
Few of you, okay? I’m not one of those people.
Every once in a while, I’ll listen to a Shane and Shane album through the Psalms.
They get me and knock me upside the head with a baseball bat.
But most of the time, the reason why I’m not feeling passion most of the time, I would say 90% of the time in my own life.
And in those I counsel, the reason why I’m not feeling passion for God is because I’ve invested all my passion in another place.
It’s just the reality.
Its why John says, If anyone loves the things of the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
It’s right there. I want you to understand something really important, your passion is a limited commodity, you only have so much… Imagine you have 10 passion and you spend all ten on a new hobby, on a TV show, on your kids, on some dream that you have, a house, a new home, and you’re thinking in your day dreaming and you’re spending all your passion on those things. There’s not gonna be any left over for God, and then you wonder why am I dry… Why am I dry?
Most of the time for me, what I need to do if I’m dry is I have to starve my other passions, I’ve got a fast, and I literally sometimes do fast from food, sometimes all fast from media… ’cause that’s a big thing for me, that’s a big struggle of mine. Sometimes I’ll fast from some new thing that I’m interested in, and I’ll just put it away so that I can spend my passion on God the way he deserves.
I want you to hear me a lot of times, and listen today, some of you are broken, right, your beat up by the world a little bit and you’re feeling it, you’re feeling a pain in your heart, and for me to say this is hard.
What do you do when you’re broken because I know what I do, I go to distractions and I find something that distracts me in a passionate way for a while, you’re gonna need to cut some of that out if you’re gonna love God, you’re gonna need to… It’s the only way for me in a… So whatever that is.
I will also have an extended quiet time where I’m bored, some of us don’t know how to be bored anymore, being bored is a good thing, where you go out and you have like a couple hours and you are un-distracted, and for me, it’s typically in nature, I get out away from things in nature where it’s quiet, and I am bored with one verse for a couple of hours, I’ve done different verses throughout time, but I’ll read one verse, and I’m just reading that verse over and over again, I’m trying to understand what it says, I’m trying to understand God, I’m praying to God, and I’m asking him to give me a comprehension of what this verse says, and we’re going back and forth, and I’m enjoying creation, and I’m reminded about the glory of God. Nature has a way to do that.
Heavens declare the glory of God.
That’s a really good way to stir up those passions again, I want to emphasize that the corporate gathering is another really important part of that, the second you cut yourself off from others, you’re unable to be warmed by their fire.
So if you are passion-less, find somebody who’s passionate. And go talk to them.
It’s one of the best things you can do.
It’s one of the best things you can do.
What about strength? The strength is the last one I find… again, I said earlier, this was the area I was lacking in. 2 Peter 1-5 says, For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, your virtue with knowledge. Notice what’s first there.
Your effort comes first. Your knowledge comes second you… Not always that way, but it is there. or What about this? Philippians 3, Not that I’ve already obtained this or already perfect. But I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider, and I have made it my own, but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind, straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal, for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Effort is necessary.
Yeah? I think some of us consider life to be a lazy river, and… Have you ever been on a lazy river? We went on a vacation a handful of weeks ago, and we did a canoe, I had… Well, I had a kayak and I pulled a kid in a tube behind me on a kayak, and part of this section was over a lake, which means there’s no current to carry you… It was miserable.
I haven’t complained about it yet to my wife, but I have to still… It was miserable, but we got him there and at… Nobody drowned, so we did all right.
But a lot of people were on this area and they were actually going down in these rafts, these inner tubes, just slowly floating down as a family or whatever. I know it’s kind of fun, but a lot of people think of the Christian life like that, where, Well, if I’m a Christian that I’m on the river and God will just kinda carry me to growth, you’ll kinda just carry me to where I need to go, right?
No, not at all, not one bit. I want you to hear me not one bit, that is not the biblical view of your Christianity, the biblical view of Christianity is that we are straining and making effort and wearing ourselves out for God.
Yes, and it’s connected to a desperate love and a passion for Him, and yes, it’s connected to a right way of thinking about him, but if you are not making effort, this is how one person said it, you either kill sin or it will be killing you.
I want you to evaluate yourself right now… Have I grown in the last year? Am I static.
Have I grown in my faith as I progressed in my battle against this one sin?. Most of the time, the reason why we haven’t is ’cause we just haven’t put in the effort, we haven’t put in the much-ness, we haven’t put in the energy, we haven’t put in the will… We’ve just expected it to happen to us. If I love God, I love listening to worship songs.
And if I read the Bible enough and I know enough about him, well, then I should be fine spiritually. And it’s just not the way it works. Proper obedience is always connected to proper understanding and a proper love.
How do we do this?
Well, we plan. We intend… We make plans.
What does it look like to make plans? If I’m counseling, for instance, Biblical counselor, if I counsel like a person who’s struggling with being bitter against their co-worker ’cause their co-work is annoying. Right?
I’m trying to help them through that. Nobody knows anything about that here, right?
Nobody ever gets bitter or annoyed with anybody in this room.
Okay, you’re doing that. Now, what the question is, how do you grow in that area?
A lot of times they’re like, Well, I know I need to do better.
Okay, how are you gonna do better?
Well, next time I get annoyed, I’m not gonna be annoyed.
Okay, good. It’s a great start, but that’s, how is that gonna help you?
Cause… That might work for one time, and then the next time it’s not gonna work.
How is that gonna improve? How are you gonna grow?
You gotta make intentions, you gotta make plans, and there are sources of spiritual life to help you through that, so for someone like that, I might say if you work in a cubicle, you got a verse right there… I like Colossians 3, verse 12, that says, Put on, Therefore, holy and beloved. dearly chosen, love.
He goes on to say love.
So he reminds you first that you are holy because of God’s love for you, You are dearly loved, you are chosen by God, he reminds you of God’s love for you. And then he says, Oh yeah, by the way, put on love. So I would say, write that verse out, put it right in your cubicle and stare at it, memorize it.
Renew your mind in that, make that intention. Make that plan. And then I would say, You know what you need to do, you need to start praying for that person you’re bitter against.
This is hard, a lot of the Psalms have David praying for His enemies, but it’s not nice prayers, right? He’s praying, God, would you judge the enemy? Would You break their teeth? Woah. There’s a sense in which you can pray for justice if they’re doing something wrong, God, I pray that your will be done here, and if you can bring righteousness to this situation, however, if it’s by bringing them to justice, great, if it’s by seeing them get saved and loving righteousness better.
Would you do that? and start praying for their well-being like that, you’re gonna do that every day, and you’re gonna commit to doing that every day, you’re gonna pray for your enemy, like Jesus said, and then you’re gonna serve them, what does it look like to serve them… Well, I’m really annoyed at him because they keep stealing my sandwich out of my lunch when I’m at work, I’ve got a plan for that. Make two sandwiches, serve them, they’re like, Well, then they’ll eat both sandwiches well, okay, make a third sale for you then, figure out a way that you can sue them and love them. The quickest way to undermine bitterness in your life is going to be doing intentional acts of service, praying for them specifically, and then doing something that renews your mind to remember God’s love for you in the moment when you would most likely be tempted to sin in better this… Right.
Okay, so what does it look like for you?
You’re struggling against these sins in your life, is it enough for you to just say, Well, I’m just…
I’m gonna do better next time.
Okay, you’ve said that 30 times. Now, how many times do you have to go through this before you realize doing better, it’s not a plan, that’s not loving God with all your much-ness with all your will, with all your effort. Sometimes you’re gonna have to plan. I’ll tell you from my own life how I’ve done this, I have a tendency, my wife will attest to this, to be a selfish father and husband, which means when I get home from work, I want me time.
Yeah, I can’t be the only one here. But I’m not gonna make you raise your hands. Okay, I have this tendency to just wanna be by myself, to not wanna jump into serving and guess what, I mean, I get home from work at like five, I got two and a hours before my kids go to bed, I haven’t seen them all day long, am I gonna really check out for two hours of that, so how do I… If I know that one of my weaknesses is selfishness, what do I respond? Well, I’ll tell you the ways I’ve responded this year…
Okay, my intentions, my plants and how they’re going…
I’ve done a few different things. Number one, I make dinner a lot of nights, I say, You know what, that’s one act that I can do that shows love for me, my family and my wife, and I can intentionally selfishly go do that every single time. So right away when I get home, I’m in the mindset of service, not selfishness, I’ve intended that, and I do that.
There are other things cleaning up from dinner, getting the kids ready for bed, giving them baths, I also wanted to love my kids more and spend more time with them, so I instituted a Tuesday morning pancake breakfast day, my kids… Well, I, I take them and we do Pancake Breakfast because I wanna spend more time and I wanna be a better dad, so that’s what I plan, I intended and I’m making every effort to follow through, I know and I’ve identified an area of weakness. Now, how do I grow?
You have areas of weaknesses, what are the specific things that you can do to love God with your much-ness with your strength?
This has been a lot of do. And we need that because a lot of the Bible is due to do, it’s a lot of demands for obedience, commands for obedience, but I wanna stop and I wanna close today with recognition of our God, who’s been so, so good to us, Amen?… Even in the verses that we’re memorizing in Ephesians Chapter 1, we see all three different aspects, if you wanna say that about God, so I need the purpose of his will, that his strength, he lavish things on us in love, that’s his heart, and according to His counsel that’s his mind.
Who has known the mind of the Lord? That’s a Romans Chapter 11. He demonstrated his love for us and poured out His love in our hearts, that’s Romans Chapter Five.
And all of this according to the purpose of His will, and he enacted it perfectly. I want you to hear this, you are undeserving of His love, and yeah, God has loved you with a perfect love, he has loved us with a perfect love, even while we were on lovely.
He extended his hand through heaven, out of heaven into time, through Jesus Christ, to pay the punishment for our sins for all the ways we’ve actively disobeyed his commands, and all of the ways we failed to obey His commands perfectly.
He knew we would be unlovely, and yet he’s loved us perfectly. And I want you to hear this very important thing, it’s not first about the quality of your attitude toward God, it’s about the quality of his love for you… That brings you into relationship with Him, that relationship can never change because its source is God’s love, not yours, and your love will be prone to wander, you will forget important truths, you will often be dry, and you will often not obey and pursue the way you should.
And God knew that, and he still loved you.
And it’s because of that love in response to that love, that perfect, precious love through Jesus Christ, it’s in response to that, that we make every effort.
It’s in response to that perfect love that we seek to renew our mind and understand the way we should live, and then we delight in God, it are intervening, not just obey, not just have the right mindset, but we actually love God in our heart.
We do that so that we can love Him with our entire person, many times when somebody gets stuck in a rut spiritually, it’s because one of these three areas is lacking in their life.
What is it for you?
And He invites you today because of His great love, to love Him back with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength.
Let’s pray and then we’re gonna close in a song, musicians, you can make your way up. Would you quiet your hearts?
I realize that this was a direct sermon today.
I’m gonna invite you to surrender your life to him, if there’s an area of your life where you are having a tendency to not pursue righteousness or many areas, I invite you to confess that sin to him right now.
And I want you to rest. I want you to rest in the reality.
He forgives that sin.
I want you to give your heart to Him even now, and be ready to pursue righteousness in those areas, with all your mind, with all your heart, with all your will.
Father, you are deserving of everything we are, and so we surrender all to you…
Would you please fill us with your spirit, restore to us, that willing spirit that will pursue righteousness, give us a passion and a delight and help us to be able to taste and to see that you are so, so good.
Lord, engage our minds in the battle against sin, renew our mind, help us think the right things. things. Challenge and change us. Lord, we pray and ask this, in your precious name, Amen