”Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!”” John 6:67,68
There are times when all of us –or I at least- feel worthless and unworthy. It isn’t true that we are worthless if we are under God’s authority. However, it is true that we are unworthy. For some reason we forget this until the moment that the feeling of uselessness comes upon us. Then we begin questioning God. Does he really love me? Does he really want me? Has he really called me? And because our apparent worthlessness we suddenly appear to ourselves as highly unworthy.
I find myself in the situation of Christ’s disciples here. God does not move from us –we move ourselves away from God. But if I move away from God –where am I heading? What direction? What goal?
“Lord, to whom shall I go? You have the words of eternal life!”
There is no heading so strong as a direction towards God. There is no goal more worthy than friendship with Christ. There is no calling so powerful, nor desire as pure as the calling and desire to serve the One who is the Epitome of Love – the one who has the words of eternal life.
So how can I navigate towards this goal? Yes, I can find eternal life by believing that Jesus Christ died for my sins and has the power to wash away those sins. But believing is only the first step in the journey of a life time.
“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37
Each one of us holds a compass within ourselves –just like the one Captain Jack Sparrow carried. A compass that points in the direction of what we love most in life. When the Love of God is the magnetic north of our spiritual compass the needle will point towards Him, wherever we are and whatever we are doing. And when others see our compass, they too are pointed towards God –always. But if for a moment our love wavers, the needle will spin uncertainly and those people will catch only a confusing glimpse that points towards…nothing.
I will love God with all my heart. What does this choice mean to me? The heart is the centerpiece of our desires. Something so closely knit with our mind and soul that we find it difficult to discern the finest details. My heart is impassioned with want, and deceitful above all things. I am to love God with all my heart –therefore God must be the utmost desire of my life. Above cars. Above education. Above ice cream and fried chicken. Not that the other desires are wrong –but they need order and levels of importance. This they will find if our foremost desire is God.
I will love God with all my soul. What does this choice mean to me? My soul is my spiritual being. The mysterious something that science cannot explain. The ‘I AM’ of my person. My soul must depend on God for its nourishment and life source. Cars, education, and ice cream are not wrong, but feeding my soul on the temporary junk food of the world will weaken and harm it severely. We must only feed our soul the nourishment of God, and never allow our soul to feed upon the world. The world’s junk food is not food at all and should be for external use only –not for our spiritual nutrition.
I will love God with all my mind. What does this choice mean to me? My mind is my processor. Single, dual, or quad core –it doesn’t really matter. What matters is how we go about processing life and decisions. We must have a mind that chooses to do what is right when our heart tempts us to do what is wrong. Our mind is the place of self-discipline and our storehouse of faith. We remember that chairs hold us when we sit on them. We remember that we trust the person whom we call friend. We remember that God was good to the Israelites, and that God has been good to us. When I love God with all my heart, I will remember and choose with my mind according to what I believe.
There’s another, but it’s not found in Matthew 22. This last one springs forth from all the former:
I will love God with all my strength. What does this choice mean to me? I’m not a very strong man, but my body is a place of strength. I lift pencils. I hammer nails. When I love God with all my strength, I will do the things my mind has disciplined itself to do with whatever strength it takes to get the job done. This doesn’t mean I brush my teeth so vigorously that my teeth fall out and I crumble to the ground in fatigue. It does mean that I brush my teeth thoroughly with whatever strength is necessary to complete the task. And what about ‘all’ my strength? This simply means that none of my physical strength should be used because I love something else. This doesn’t mean we can’t eat doughnuts or ice cream, or play basketball. As long as our Spiritual needle points without wavering towards God, these are pleasures that are given by God for us to enjoy. But when we love these pleasures –when our heart begins to desire them foremost –when our mind gives in to our heart –when our soul seeks nourishment from these things…then these pleasures become sin, and ‘all’ our strength suddenly becomes ‘a bit’ of our strength.
Just as the God of the universe is formed as a trinity, each part having its special function –so we too are built of a trinity of special functions:
Our heart for desire: Desire for God;
Our mind for discipline: Obedience to God;
Our soul for dependence.: Dependence on God.
When these are set in order, things will work in order and our compass will point to God.