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All your Heart, All your Mind, All your Strength – I

July 19, 2012

When a student of the Torah, asked Jesus which was the greatest of the commandments, He responded with the Sh’ma, “You shall love the LORD your God, with all your heart, all your mind and all your strength.”

As you look around the church, it is easy to find those who are strongly emotionally and intellectually invested in Christ and the church. The problem is that usually they are not the same people.

Then there are those are always happy to be involved in any kind of everyday work in the church but are usually absent from all spiritual activities but Sunday morning.

I suppose that most of us are  a little more balanced, but, generally, we follow our interests and our strengths ,and to tell the truth, giving our all is not in us. It is God who works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure – so the scripture tells us. The problem is that often we get in the way of God’s work. Consciously or subconsciously we get in the way, we dig in our heels and we go unchanged. If we are particularly hardheaded, stubborn or unwilling, our Christian growth can slow down to a crawl.

I recall, when I was a young Christian, giving a God a laundry list of thing that He had to work on in my life, and thanking Him for a list of things that were alright in my life. The next six months were six months of incredible difficulty in my life. All sorts of pressure were brought to bear on me and I felt as though I was in a pressure cooker. but, as I looked back over those six months, I noticed that God had not allowed anything to happen in my life that dealt with my list of faults and shortcomings, nor had He failed to deal with any of the things on my list of virtues.

The lesson that I learn through this is that our virtues, so-called, often stand in the way of coming close to Him. Where we think we are all right, we are smug and do not seek Him.

This does not mean I go around down on myself. Rather, I perceive that I am a canvas for Him to work upon. This is one of the reasons this blog is called The Other Apologetic: the formation of Christ in people totally incapable of doing it themselves.


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