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our loves will determine the course of our life

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“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6:4-9

We’ve all played the game ‘telephone.’ You start by giving someone a message and pass the message down to subsequent people. Inevitably, the message is distorted by the time it gets to the end of the line. At times, the game can be quite humorous. However, if you’ve tried to communicate an important message and had a similar thing happen, you know it can be very frustrating. If you want to communicate something important and don’t want it distorted, you must communicate it directly and fervently.

That’s the call of Shema. God is summoning Israel – he is communicating clearly and directly. The first word of Shema is so important, “Hear!” It’s as though God is shouting, “You can’t miss this. Your life depends on understanding and embracing this central reality.” So, God communicates this truth emphatically and directly through the Scriptures. The first verses of Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 read, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” To love God is the central calling of those who follow God. People have wrestled with the meaning of life and the chief end of man for centuries, but Shema makes it clear – love God. Everything in life flows from our loves. In fact, our loves will determine the course of our life.

Much has been made about dissecting the different faculties that the Scriptures call us to use to love God – heart, soul, and might. While it is of some use to look at these in depth, the point of the passage is clear. We’re to love God with our entire being. We’re to surrender to his love with our thoughts, our will, our feelings, our emotions, our decisions, and our desires. The deepest roots of our life are to be grounded in the calling to love God. The fact that this is what God wants us to hear and the message he wants pure and undistorted, communicates something about God. It declares that God is not interested simply in our performance of duties, but rather in our devotion. It reminds us that God is not captivated by our legalism, but wants us to be captivated by his affection. Finally, it communicates our love is God’s ardent desire.

Take a moment today and listen to the song Abide with Me. Let the invitation wash over. Hear… and remind yourself that God wants your presence, your devotion, and your love.[/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text]

By Ryan Paulson

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