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What does God demand? That we reverence Him, walk in all of His ways, and love Him and serve Him with all our heart and all our soul. That’s a lot, isn’t it? And yet, clearly, we haven’t done it. And so you say, “I failed in that. What now?”

The failure of your confession to love God fully doesn’t take God by surprise. The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). So does that mean that it’s all over; that there’s no hope for us? No, thank God! Our loving Lord has an alternate plan.

Some men once came to Jesus with the question, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” (John 6:28). It’s the same basic idea: “What does God require of us?” And Jesus replied, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent” (John 6:29).

Praise God, I can do that! Though I failed in the ideal requirement, yet I can fulfill the actual requirement, through faith. What does God require of you and me? That we believe in His Son, Jesus Christ.

As you believe in Jesus Christ, you receive a new dynamic for life. Christ comes in and begins to indwell you. By His indwelling power and presence, He begins to give you the strength and the ability to live according to God’s divine ideal. He gives you the strength to walk in the ways of righteousness. He gives you the love for God that you lack. He begins to work in you, doing for you what you cannot do for yourself.

But I suppose I should back up a bit. Although God made us to revolve around His axis, we crash-landed when Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the garden. Ever since then, people naturally choose self-centered lives.

And what’s so wrong with that? Well, the Bible assures us that a self-centered life is destined for emptiness and frustration. In fact, the book of Ecclesiastes gives us a classic example of the problem of self-centeredness.

King Solomon lived a wildly self-centered life. He said, “Whatsoever my eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy.” He did everything for himself—and ended up with that plaintive cry, “Vanity, vanity,” or “Emptiness, emptiness, everything is empty and frustrating!” He did it all and he had it all. But because he centered his entire life around himself and his desires, by the end of his days he found life unfulfilling, disappointing, and eventually ended up as a bitter cynic.

You won’t find things any different if you live for yourself. When you get to the end of the road you will say, “It wasn’t worth it. Life is a mistake, a tragic mistake. It’s a farce. There’s no meaning nor purpose. I began as an accident and I’ll go out as an accident. And there’s no reason for my existence.” How empty! How futile! And if you wind up there, it will be because you placed yourself at the center of your life.

The only solution is to place God at the very center of your being. That’s what Jesus was getting at in urging us to love God with everything we are. “That’s the most important thing,” He says. “That’s primary. Get God at the center of your life and begin to enjoy a growing, loving relationship with Him.”

Have you ever stopped to realize that the first four of the Ten Commandments all deal with your relationship with God? And as Jesus explained, each of those four can be summed up in loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength—that is, giving the Lord your full and complete devotion.

This shouldn’t be hard, should it? It sounds like the easiest thing in the world. And it really would be—if only we hadn’t all followed Adam and Eve straight into disobedience. The problem is not with God’s command; the problem is with our rebellious hearts. And that means if we are ever to find our purpose and fulfill our divine design—and so enjoy God and His universe as He intends—then something has to be done about our hard hearts.

Leave it to a loving God to do exactly that!


– excerpted from Love The More Excellent Way by Chuck Smith

continue reading the views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of Calvary Southampton

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