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 6:6-9
If there’s one thing that universally transforms – it’s love. Love mixes in with our emotions. It exerts itself through our strength. It reaches our very core. No wonder God commands us to love him with every part of ourselves – with our passion, our essence, and every ounce of our physical strength. Just think about how love feels. It grabs us, compels us, transforms us from within. But, do we truly love God like this? Do we offer him our whole lives and surrender every ounce of ourselves to a dynamic love relationship powerful enough to transform us?
Or do we relegate God to one designated hour in our day… or week? Do we hope for transformation by learning about Jesus in the book he commissioned his people to write or by hearing from him through a pastor’s Sunday morning sermon? Imagine trying to fall in love with someone by only thinking about them once during the day or reading about them in a book or hearing about them in a talk someone else prepared. That’s no way to nurture love and it’s sure to avoid total transformation.
If we want to see spiritual transformation in our life, we must enter a lifestyle of love. And the way we nurture love for God happens when we welcome God into our everyday rhythms and practice posturing our hearts toward him from a place of love. Since we are people full of heart, soul, mind, and body, we need practices that take God beyond our intellect or understanding and into our eating and sleeping, our adventuring and dreaming, our relating and retreating. Look at God’s further instructions in the Deuteronomy text. He describes a scene where people are talking about God, teaching about God, walking, sitting, and lying down with God.
Spiritual practices are training grounds to help us personally fall in love with God. That’s why both consistency and creativity are key. Establishing rhythms of being with God like journaling, retreating, napping, playing, singing, or designing things are all beautiful ways to fall in love with Jesus, his way, and his heart. Also, practices like reading the Bible with your family while sitting at the dinner table, talking about what God’s been teaching you with a friend on a hike in the mountains, or noticing how the natural world teaches you Kingdom lessons are more ways of bringing God into your everyday. Be consistent about bringing God into your everyday and get creative about it. Consider what creative spiritual practice you might engage in consistently this week and practice it. If you notice it growing your love for God, keep it up! Let your practices open the doorways of greater love for God and further transformation in his Spirit.
By Yvonne Biel