Yesterday I said the foundation of our Christian life is found in this passage from Deuteronomy 6:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 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 (Deut 6:4-9).
Ok. I know, some might disagree with me. Some of you might be thinking that the foundation to the Christian life is what we hear about, in this wonderful song: My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name (heard that in church Sunday <sigh> I love that song). And if you agree with the song…you would be right. We cannot be Christians without the sacrifice of Christ and His Grace extended to us.
But Jesus came as an example to us too. By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked (1 John 2:5b-6). Paul says, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1).
Christ was devoted to His heavenly Father. Remember this: But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment (Matt 22:34-38). Here, Jesus was making reference to the SHEMA, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, the passage every observant Jew (including Jesus) learned as a young child (our memory verse this week).
In the SHEMA, we learn that we were made to love God with all of our heart and soul and mind. We are called to live an undivided life to be wholly devoted to Him:
- Integrity is interconnected with obedience. When we fulfill the purpose for which we were made, this is obedience. Relationship with God just resonates with our soul. It rings true. It accepts who we are that things are just not right, without Him.
- As we seek whole-heartedly after God, we pursue Him with all that we are: heart, soul and mind. When we love God with everything that we are, we are kept free from the love of idols like money and material goods or approval and love of the world. Seeking God prevents us from being enslaved by emotions like fear, pride, anger, or lust. Lack of devotion to God leaves us without the protection that relationship with God affords we feel fractured, broken, lost.
Integrity is righteousness, being right with God, and we can only find righteousness through our relationship with Jesus Christ. Being right with God means we have full access to Him and fellowship with Him; this creates a feeling of stability and wholeness (which is also Integrity) — cue the warm fuzzies! THIS is the gospel that Jesus came so that we might be reconciled to God, in spite of our sin (2 Cor 5:21, Eph 2:4-5).
If anything comes between us and God, we feel the loss. If we love something more than God, we feel broken. If we pursue something other than God, we find disappointment. God wants us to:
- know Him (Jer 31:33-34, Ex 29:46, Deut 4:35; Ps 46:10),
- serve Him (Deut 6:13, Matt 6:24, Col 3:23-24)
- obey Him (Rom 1:1-32, John 13:34-35)
- pursue Him (Matt 6:33, James 4:8, Hebrews 10:22)
- enjoy Him (Is 40:31, Ps 37:4, Ps 34:8)
After that, everything else is gravy.
Remember that movie, Jerry Maguire? The best line was the way Jerry proclaimed his love to Dorothy: “You complete me.” (I am pretty sure every woman swooned when she first heard this…and every man groaned.)
The relationships we enjoy this side of heaven are just a shadow of what we have in the Trinity: parent, friend, sibling, beloved. Nothing, and no one else, can complete us. We just aren’t whole without the Lord. Here are some fun images based on the quote from the movie, but I think they illustrate our need for relationship with God so much better: