Seeking God for God


Battlefield

Dear Father,

I was caught up with a task deadline this last few days, one I thought I’d never finish. Finally, last night I completed my task – 3 days late of the deadline. During those last 3 days, I remembered You a lot: I read about You, I wrote about You, I missed You. I was desperate.

Heart Commandment

Heart Commandment (Photo credit: Will Humes)

I came across the dreaded verse again yesterday in an email devotional: “The two greatest commandments” – with a twist. It highlighted how You gave the second commandment even though the people didn’t ask for it. The question people asked was – what is the greatest commandment? You answered – loving God. Then You gave the second too – without the people asking for it. The email highlighted that it was because loving God is only complete (and comes full circle) when I love myself and I love others, and these 2 commandments cannot be separated.

Cover of "Battlefield of the Mind: How to...

Cover via Amazon

I found a very inspirational blog Father – Jumping on Clouds – and through the blog I found a person who had gone through painful things in their lives but had come out victorious through You. Someone who is both hopeful and joyful through You. Like Joyce Meyer says in her first chapter of “Battlefield of the Mind” (the book jumpingonclouds recommended to me), I used to be both hopeless and miserable. Then when I was 15 and was found by You, I became hopeful and for a time joyful. But I didn’t let go of my past. My misery and pain remained and so the scars didn’t heal completely. I didn’t let go, so You brought me face to face with it in December 2010 and more profoundly in July 2011. I’m recovering from those experiences, yes, but I haven’t yet learnt about being joyful. You keep bringing me against situations where I cannot ignore.

I started listening again to Joyce Meyer’s broadcasts from her website. In her “Intimacy with God – Part 2” she said something that really got to me: we are so caught up in asking “things” of You that we seek You for “things” but we don’t really seek You for You.

I don’t know where I go from here, Father, but like Paul said in Philippians 4:6-7, and like Joyce Meyer also said, I’m going to ask here for what I need. You. Please. I ask this in the name of Jesus, my Savior through His blood and the cross.

Amen.

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Love: The Greatest Commandment


LoveNina hadn’t been to church for a long time. In fact, it must have been over a year when she last attended the Sunday service at the local church. She was feeling low without any particular reason. She found her self watching movie after movie, reading book after book. It was as if she wanted to escape life. She had arguments with her family and loved ones, avoided her friends and the list of “not right” things went on. On Saturday, when she checked her mobile phone, she had received three calls from Su in Dubai. Nina texted back saying “Sorry I wasn’t near the phone. Was having lunch with my husband”. Su replied right back, “Thanks for this reply for all my missed calls for the last several months”. Sunday, Nina made porridge (her first). She got hurt at her husband’s comments on how salty the porridge was and an argument followed with Nina angrily throwing away the rest of the porridge. Then, she went to church.

Mark 12: 28 – 31 [NKJV]: 28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” 29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Verses taken from http://www.biblegateway.com

The greatest commands deal with love:

  1. Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.
  2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Today, the church sermon was about this verse. The priest’s explanation gave me new insight in to the verse that I had not seen before. According to what I learnt today, loving God involves my heart, my soul, my mind and my strength, and loving others involve loving myself.

How do I love God this way?

  1. Heart – you love God with a passion that filters through to everything your heart feels for: your family, your loved ones, interests you love (reading, movies, music), causes that you fight for
  2. Soul – you love God with everything you are! If you’re a fun-loving extrovert you love God using that. If you’re serious, you love God using that. If you’re a shy introvert, you love God using that. You love God by being who you truly are, with everything you are!
  3. Mind – Mind is intellectual. Means your studies, about things you know. Loving God with your mind means you read, study and find out about God so that you “know” Him.
  4. Strength – God and your relationship is not something that is only internal. It is about your entire life. Your love for God, you loving God through your heart, soul and mind must be then put in to practice where everything you feel for God, who you are for God, what you learn about God, is seen, heard, externalized in to your daily living, wherever you are, whoever you are with, whatever you are doing.

Then comes loving others as you love yourself. Note: you cannot love others until you truly love yourself. How do you love yourself?

  1. Appreciate yourself
  2. Don’t talk down about yourself
  3. Forgive yourself
  4. Do nice things for yourself
  5. Take care of yourself: mind & body, heart & soul

When I love God, and I love myself, I’m ready to love others. How do I love others? Same way I love myself.

  1. Appreciate others
  2. Don’t talk down about others
  3. Forgive others
  4. Do nice things for others
  5. Take care of others: mind & body, heart & soul

Going through this I realize that Jesus taught us how to rank the priorities in our life:

  1. God
  2. Myself
  3. Others (family, friends, relatives, colleagues, and everyone we deal with in our daily lives for even the smallest thing)

Knowing doesn’t mean it gets any easier. Right now, I’m struggling loving all 3 aspects in my life: God, myself, and others.

Dear Father,

I know I hurt You. I also know that I hurt myself by the self-destructive behaviors. I hurt the people I love. I’m deeply sorry about that. Please help me to focus on these 3 things I learnt today: how to love You, myself and others (in that order), knowing that as I do my part You will do yours. Father, while I struggle, give patience to those who love me. I know that it is not easy to love me, with all my imperfections. Give them joy and may love fill their lives, most importantly Your love. I ask this in the name of Jesus Your Son, my Lord and my Savior.

Amen