"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." Mark 12:30
These red-letter words, found in the Bible in Mark Chapter 12, were spoken by Jesus, sanctified, and made holy by his blood. There are components of this verse that are often overlooked or downplayed that should be highlighted and celebrated as moms and Christ followers.
The four components of loving God, as Jesus' first and greatest commandment are: loving God with your heart, soul, mind, and strength. The first two come more naturally to me than the latter. As a mom, it is easy to love God because of his holy nature; but loving God with my life, through my thoughts and with my free time, and surrendering control in all areas, becomes more of a challenge.
Jesus began his ministry on Earth around age 30, the same age David was when he began his reign as king of Israel. I love noticing the parallels or shadows of Christ that can be found in the Old Testament when we look closely, in studying God's Word.
Jesus was the most perfect example of a person who loved the Lord God with his heart, soul, mind, and strength. He loved God with his whole heart, his entire life. Jesus lived for the Lord and made physical sacrifices in order to follow God and live out the Holy Spirit's promptings in his life. He made the greatest sacrifice of all in his death on the cross, but fully trusted in God's plan, and on the third day rose again.
King David was not a perfect example, but as a 'man after God's own heart,' there is much wisdom we can glean from the life of David. David was not tall or kingly in terms of physical appearance, but he loved the Lord God with his whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. David spent his hours writing Psalms, or praises, to God in the fields when he was a Shepherd before his kingship. He lived a life of worship and used his free time to glorify God. Even when he stumbled, he was quick to repent, lament, seek redemption, ask for forgiveness, and accept God's grace.
I am totally and completely in love with Jesus. But, that does not mean that I do not experience trials and temptations in motherhood and in life. The Lord has to help me choose self control, to come alongside my children with humility and grace in my heart, even when they sin against me, each other, and the Lord God. I cannot control their hearts. I must discipline my children out of love, but first and foremost, I must teach them of our desperate need for Jesus, because we all have sin and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23).
I am no different than my children in terms of having a sin nature. I am no different than my children in terms of the magnitude of God's love for me. The difference between me and my children is my leadership role in their lives. I have been given this miraculous, grand assignment to impart my children with the knowledge, love, and wisdom of God's Word that can only come alive in their hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit.
There is no formula to motherhood. The key is Christ in me; depending on his strength and power over my own; putting on the heart, soul, mind and strength of Jesus each day. In this way, I can be the best mother that I can be.
Christ is working in me, purifying my heart and ridding me of the mud and muck as I mother my children and learn what it is to be childlike, pure in heart, and humble. Leaning in on Christ and letting the King become my all is a purification process that I am willing to weather, because I know that my Redeemer lives. Jesus is alive in me, and wants me to take up my cross each day; grooming my heart, soul, mind and strength to reflect God's own heart.
All of this is made possible through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Apart from Christ I am incapable of cultivating the attributes of a mother whose heart beats solely and completely for the Lord God.
The first and greatest commandment, of fully loving the Lord, with every fiber of our being, is impossible without the presence of Jesus in our daily lives. So I encourage you to get into the Word, follow the Holy Spirit's promptings in your life, give thanks, develop a lifestyle of worship, and let Jesus take the wheel of your heart.