“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” Deuteronomy 6:5
While in the military I was required to take an advanced electronics course. I did have a mathematical background and found several of the formulas difficult to understand. I was not alone in my struggles but unlike some, I chose not to attend tutorials that would help my understanding. Instead I decided to rely on a technique I employed in high school, memorization. I believed that if I committed the formulas to memory I’d be OK. The first few quizzes went well as all I had to do was memorize a few formulas and correctly plug them into the questions being asked. Test preparation was initially easy, but as we dug deep into the course and more theories and formulas were introduced, preparation became more difficult; in fact, it had become hard. I knew where to apply the formulas, I just didn’t understand them. So, to make sure I had all bases covered during testing, I found myself having to memorize every formula we ever discussed in class. Although I survived the course, I had made it more painful and difficult than was necessary because I had not been willing to give it my all at the onset.
When asked by someone what they must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus replied with a variation of the statements found in Deuteronomy 6. Moses was reminding the people of Israel about the necessity to give all to God. Jesus did the same with these words, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself”. Jesus was saying to inherit eternal life with the Father, you must give Him all of your life. This expectation can be viewed as both easy and hard. Easy, if we are willing to turn over every aspect of our life to Him as soon as we become aware of God’s desire. Hard, because our nature, which is often in conflict with God, pushes us to be in control. When we give it all, we then enter life with the mindset that God is in control and that being yoked with Jesus means we have His power and strength alongside us as we face life. When we keep parts to ourselves, often our finances, our marriage, or even our expectations for our children, life and it’s challenges can become hard.
I wanted to pass the electronics course but from the onset I displayed a behaviour that suggested I was not fully committed. I was not willing to give it my all and did not put in the time and effort needed to understand the material. Because of my choice to learn my way I found myself having to put a lot more time and energy into preparing for the final exam and that was hard. When we enter a relationship with Jesus unwilling to fully commit, we will find life harder than it should be. We compound an already difficult situation by adding stress and worry. Giving it all to God does not mean our problems will go away. But, it does mean that when we are faced with a dilemma we can face it with God’s strength and hope.
This weekend as you celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving, will you take some time to reflect on what it means to give it all to God? As you express your gratitude to Him for the blessings in your life, will you also reflect on your challenges? Will you ask yourself how can they play out differently if you give them over to Jesus? Will you trust Him to give you strength and hope as together you face your challenges?Take a few seconds to talk with God maybe sharing these words, “I give it all to you, help me give it all to you”.
Giving it all requires a change of mindset which places trust in God for everything. Life with Jesus can be so different when you trust that He wants to help us live life to the full (John 10:10).