A suitcase of dirty clothes

Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got! (Deuteronomy 6:5)

I know this passage seems like it is a 'simple' one, but the loving of ANYTHING or ANYONE with ALL that's in you is kind of hard because your own self gets in the way from time to time, doesn't it? As much as we say we are 'all in' relationally, we have those moments when we 'hold out'. Some are quite intentional, while others just happen because we aren't really paying all that close of attention to the relationship. There is just one relationship that requires our all-out attention and intentionality - the one we have with Christ Jesus. All other relationships grow or decline depending upon how 'all in' we are with the relationship we have with Christ. 

Our whole heart - try measuring that one for a moment and you will certainly begin to realize just how hard it is to get our 'whole' heart into any relationship. We seem to hold back a portion just in case we will get hurt. In the scriptures, the heart is not the muscle that pumps blood through our bodies - it is our mind, will, and emotions. Now, lest you say you are 'all in' within that relationship based upon that definition, let me ask the last time you were with someone and found yourself not really paying attention? Was your mind 'all in' at that moment? Not likely. You allowed a drift in attention - a distraction to take you away from that moment.

All that's in you - this is an apt description of being 'all in'. What's 'in' you right now? Some of us will report there is a little fear, hopelessness, anger, bitterness, or even envy. Why would God ask us to bring him our fear - to be 'all in' even with our fears? What can we possibly bring into a relationship where hopelessness is kind of niggling at our souls all the time? Who wants to be given our anger or bitterness? What about our envy - how can that be anything that belongs in relationship? I think we believe God only wants the 'good stuff' in our lives - in those areas, we can understand how he wants us to be 'all in', but with our 'bad stuff' or what some of us label as 'baggage' - surely that isn't what we should bring.

When God asks us to be 'all in' it goes way beyond the 'good stuff' in our lives. It includes the hard stuff we deal with each day - the stuff we label as 'bad stuff' or 'baggage'. Why? There is no one more equipped to lovingly deal with our fear, so we no longer need to be intimidated and oppressed by those worries any longer. There is no more powerful one we can depend upon when we feel all hope is lost. Our anger and bitterness keep us muddled in all our relationships - when we go 'all in' with him - laying it at his feet, we find he is able to show us where we break the cycle of holding onto what we definitely need to let go of in the first place. Envy may seem like it has no place in this relationship, but when that 'green-eyed monster' begins to hold us captive, his hold on us is the only thing that breaks that cycle of  the 'not enough' syndrome we are experiencing.

God doesn't just ask for our 'best' or 'good' - he asks for all of us - complete with the baggage, my friends. No need hiding it away, reserving it for who knows what reason. That baggage needs to be unpacked, the dirty laundry washed clean, and then we need to put on his grace-washed character. Go 'all in' with God and you may just find the baggage you've been toting around for years and years is finally unpacked and put far away. Just sayin!

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