The Christian Life: A Love Affair

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    There is an old fashioned saying about how to catch a man: “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”  Oh, I’m guessing in some places that saying may still be appropriate, but maybe it should be tweaked to say the way to a man’s heart is through his remote control.  My purpose here is not to discuss the false views of manhood that these statements point to, though they must be noted.  No.  I’m trying to illustrate that our desires are a window into the true love of our heart.  That desire may be for food.  It may be for a ball game.  On the other hand, it may be for respect or control.  I’m not just talking to men, though.  For the ladies, what are the desires of your heart revealing about your true love?

    Whatever it may be, Deuteronomy chapter 30 has something to say about it.  In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses has gathered the people of Israel together, just before they are to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land.  He is reminding them of where they have come from, of their redemption from slavery in Egypt purchased by God, of God’s law for them and their nation, and of their call to obedience.  In chapter 28, he tells them of the blessings for obedience, and curses for disobedience, which will fall upon them under the covenant that God has graciously made with them.  In chapter 29, the people renew their commitment to the covenant.  Then in chapter 30, Moses prophetically tells them what is going to happen when they disobey, and then again when God restores them.

    Upon their restoration, or their eventual return to the Promised Land, God says in Deut. 30:6, “And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul that you may live.”  In descriptive language, God is promising to cut away from the people the things that will distract their hearts from truly loving Him.  He will remove their desires, so that they might have a better desire.

    Sounds painful doesn’t it.  We don’t want anything to be cut away from us…particularly the things that our heart most desires.  But, if this is for our good, shouldn’t we be praying for it?  Are you bold enough to pray for the Lord to circumcise your heart?  Last week as I was reading through this passage, I had to ask myself that same question.  It is a hard one, and I will confess that I have been somewhat timid in praying it.  I don’t want to give up my desires.  I’m guessing you don’t either.  Sometimes though, grace comes in the form of a sharp knife.  Sometimes, our God loves us enough to remove distractions, even the ones that we love, all so that we will have a better love.  Is this how you would describe grace?  It is certainly a part of the way that the Father graciously cares for His children.  

    He does so because He is calling us to a greater version of the Christian life than many of us would give Him credit for.  Many of us have concocted a version of the Christian life that is relegated to something we (occasionally) do on Sunday mornings  rather than what God calls us to.  However, I believe His Word tells us that His version of the Christian life is more akin to a love affair.  He desires our heart.  All of it.  And our God is willing to remove the lesser loves that would distract our hearts from Him.  Are you willing to love this kind of God?  

    If you are wrestling with that question…if you are still not sure…I will remind you that the God who performs this surgery on our hearts is also the God who has sent His Son, in order that we might be reconciled to Him.  He is a God who knows about costly love.  He gave of Himself that we might have Him.

    Again, are you willing to love this kind of God?  At the end of the chapter, God puts us to this question when He invites us into a love affair that is the Christian life.  

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse.  Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for He is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” (Deut. 30:19-20)