Grow: Discovering Love (Week 3)

“Our Response to His Rescue: Loving God With All Our Hearts”

Katie Kinnaird
 
Testimony:
1) Caleb

2) Young Life [deficit, busiest time of year,  emotional stress of caring for so many kids and leaders] = STRESS

Story: Jonah and his retainer!

How does it feel when you do something for someone you love and they overlook it? How does it feel when YOU know what you’ve done, how you’ve taken care of them, and they don’t realize of acknowledge it, or even worse, believe that someone else or they themselves did the thing you actually did?

 
We often overlook and fail to acknowledge God’s care for us. He has loved us and taken care of us truly beyond what any of us could comprehend. As our Father who has done everything he can to care and provide for us, God
wants us to love him in return. He wants our full attention, our passion, our appreciation, our deepest love. He wants us to love him with all our hearts, all our minds and all our strength- with everything we have.
 
Matthew 22: 34-40  Jesus told us that the most important thing in life is for us to love God with all our hearts, souls and strength. Many of us have heard this “most important commandment” hundreds of times. But what
does it mean? What does it look like to love God like that, to that extent?
Today we are going to go back to the Old Testament, to the passage that Jesus quoted when he told the people what the most important commandment was. Let’s look at the context of “Love the Lord your God with all your ____” so we can better understand what exactly that means.  And then let’s look at a Jesus story that puts some real life application to this most important commandment.
 
The context of this chapter: where have they BEEN. (Deuteronomy 6:21-24)
 
Moses is talking to the Israelites while they are wandering in the desert for years. They had been slaves in Egypt, oppressed as a people group for years until God miraculously saved them and sent them out on a journey to
a new place, a land that He promised would become their new home.
 
Slavery had been terrible; but they’d wandered so long that the people were in danger of forgetting what they had left behind. God did not want them to forget what He had done, where they had come from. Their suffering is just about over, and God is about to bless them beyond what they’ve ever dreamed. And God is warning them- when everything you’ve hoped for comes, don’t forget! Don’t forget that you didn’t do anything to earn this; everything you will experience is a gift (v. 10-12).
 
– God is giving them the full extent of his laws and commands. The previous chapter is the 10 Commandments. The first thing the Lord says before he gives them his 10 Commandments is, “I am the LORD your
God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.” The context for the commands he gives is that He is the one who rescued them, gave them the life they’re entering. It is the memory of what God has done for us that motivates us to obey and trust His commands.
– Are we motivated to obey God? When we think about what He has done for us, doesn’t it seem logical to TRUST that what he commands is best for us? When we think of his love and care for us, it should motivate us to listen to God and follow him wholeheartedly. We aren’t motivated by obligation, we’re inspired by our love for a God who has done EVERYTHING for us.
 
There is a critical theme in Deuteronomy 6 of REMEMBERING and not forgetting. This famous Scripture that Jesus quotes, Deuteronomy 6:4-5 is called the Shema, Hebrew for “listen”. All throughout the chapter, Moses says, “listen”, “be careful”, “listen closely” “Remember what you were before” “be careful not to forget the Lord”
 
God knows how weak we are and how easily we get distracted. Raise your hand if you get distracted easily? The truth is we all do. We can all be out-of-sight-out-of-mind, especially when it comes to God because He is always out of our physical sight. We go through something hard, and God takes care of us. And then soon after, when things are fine again, we forget what happened, we forget what exactly God did. [**when is a time this has happened to me?]
 
We need to have a rhythm of remembering the things that we’ve gone through, so that we develop these “muscles” of trusting God. v. 6-9, 20-24. We need to talk about what God has done. Remind ourselves, remind our kids, remind each other. It should never be far from our minds. How long has it been since you’ve thought back and remembered what God has done in your life.  Reflect on how different your life would be if not for him rescuing you.
[**how would MY life be different? what has God done for ME?]
 
Summarize Deuteronomy 6, and the Shema.!
 
As I reflect on what it means to love God with all our hearts, soul and mind, there is a story about Jesus that I think gives us a clear picture of what it looks like to love God that much.
 
This woman hears where Jesus is, and she comes to the house uninvited.  This setting is probably important, well-to-do people; not her crowd at all. I get the image that she slips in, goes straight to Jesus. Imagine what she is
thinking. I don’t think she had a pushy attitude, I don’t think she was thinking “I’ll show them, I can be here just as much as they can”. No, I don’t think she was considering who else was there at all. I think her sole focus was getting to Jesus. He was the only one she saw.
 
This woman was causing a little bit of a scene. Imagine it! First of all, she is not dressed appropriately for this dinner; that’s how they knew who she was to begin with, knew she as an “immoral woman”, because of her
appearance. When this woman brought in the alabaster jar, and opened it up, the smell would have filled the room, drawing even more attention to what she was doing. Rabbis weren’t even supposed to talk to women in public, and they definitely weren’t supposed to touch a woman, let alone a prostitute. She slips in behind him, on the floor, low as she can get, and starts to pour the perfume out onto his feet. And as she does, she begins to weep.
 
Imagine what she’s thinking. Why is she crying? What is it about Jesus that causes her to have this kind of reaction? I imagine they’ve met before, or at the very least, she has seen how he treats “people like her” and she is overwhelmed with gratitude. His love and kindness have made her feel something she has probably never felt before. Worth. Value. Not like a failure or an outcast. And that has affected her so powerfully that she doesn’t even care about how proper it is, she just desperately wants to thank him. And love him back.
 
Jesus tells this story to illustrate what the woman is doing. And he says her sins, which there’s lots of them, have been forgiven. And since she has been forgiven of SO much, she loves Jesus so much. And he says he who is forgive little, loves little. You know, I think we could even say it this way. The person who understands how much they have been forgive of, is full of love. But the person who doesn’t understand how much they have been forgiven of, their love is weak.
 
When you have a debt canceled, it can change your life. Jesus has canceled all our of debts- and some of us are very aware of just how big of a deal that is. And some of us don’t consider it that much at all. This woman knew. She was aware that if not for Jesus’ acceptance and forgiveness, she was hopeless, both in the world’s eyes and practically she had nothing to live for. Jesus gave her something to live for and she couldn’t HELP herself from placing herself at his feet, trying to think of an extravagant way to thank him and show her love for him.
Because she was aware of her debt.
 
So what does it look like to love God with all our hearts? We have to remember where we’ve come from. We remember what we have been rescued from and what debt was canceled. And when we remember, when we think about that, love comes easily and naturally.
 
“I am the LORD your God who rescued you from your place of slavery.”
 
God has rescued us and he has cancelled our debt.
 
 
 
Listen to Katie’s Message here:
 

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