Devotion #181

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 22:37-40 ESV

Our heart refers to our affections—the things we desire or are passionate about. We pursue what we love with all of our heart. God created us with those desires and passions for a purpose. He had a plan. Our hearts long to be filled, so we chase after these passions to bring us joy and peace, to know that sense of fulfillment or completeness. The problem is we chase after the wrong things. We get distracted by the things of the world and devote our hearts to the pursuit of things found only in this broken world. God created us with those desires and passions to pursue Him first. We are to love Him with all of our heart, but we so often find ourselves living with a divided heart.

If you want to know what you love with all of your heart, you only need to look to what captures your time and your thoughts. What do you spend time pursuing and planning for? Those are the things you are loving with all of your heart. Matthew 6:21 tells us, for where your treasure is, there your heart will also be. If you understand what you consider to be your treasure, the thing you value the most, the thing you work to protect and pursue, you understand what you love with your whole heart.

In order for us to love God with all of our heart, we need to treasure Him above all else. We need to value our relationship with God over all our earthly possessions, over all our accomplishments and our accolades, over all our relationships.

So, it begs to question, if we love God with all of our heart, what’s left for our spouse? Our world would challenge that our greatest affection should be our husband or wife, that we should love our spouse with all of our heart. If we place our spouse in a secondary position, won’t we be jeopardizing our relationship?

But Scripture is quite clear: we are to love God with all of our heart first, then love our neighbor second. Understanding this truth is essential to loving your spouse well. You see, by putting God first, you will love your spouse better. In our own power, we are not capable of the agape love required of us for to know deep, enduring relationships. The kind of sacrificial love that a biblical marriage requires of us is just not possible by our own means. We need the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to be able to consistently make the choice to forgive, to be able to consistently show mercy and grace, to put their needs first, to be patient and kind, to believe all things, to bear all things, to endure all things. When we choose to love God with all of our heart, to place Him before all things and people in our lives, we fuel that Spirit which dwells inside of us. And when that fire is lit, His love pours out on to those we desire to love in this world.

Spend time loving your God well today. Pursue Him, make Him your treasure, love Him with all of your heart, and you will see the love in your marriage grow.

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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