With All Your Heart
When you see a heart, you know it means love. A heart emoji in a text means someone loves the words you have shared. A heart-shaped card means someone loves you and wants to tell you. We all recognize what a heart shape means...but why use a heart?
Well, many generations ago, people believed that the heart was the center of the human body. It is literally in the middle of our bodies, of course, but ancient people thought of the heart kind of like a control center. For them, it was kind of like a brain and heart in one, a place that determines everything we say, do, think, and feel.
It is important for us to understand this when we read the Bible because there are a lot of places where we read about people loving God - or not loving God - wholeheartedly...which means, with all your heart.
For example, we read in the book of Joshua that Caleb loved God with his whole heart...
So Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave Hebron to him as his portion of land. Hebron still belongs to the descendants of Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite because he wholeheartedly followed the LORD, the God of Israel. Joshua 14:13-14
But in 2 Chronicles, we read that Amaziah did not love God with his whole heart...
Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother was Jehoaddin from Jerusalem. Amaziah did what was pleasing in the LORD's sight, but not wholeheartedly. 2 Chronicles 25:1-2
Both Caleb and Amaziah followed God. But Caleb followed God with his whole heart. Everything he said, did, thought, and felt was shaped by his love for God. Amaziah, on the other hand, did not follow God with his whole heart. So, some of what he said, did, thought, and felt was not shaped by his love for God.
To understand this, imagine something you love to do...something that brings you joy every time you get to do it. Now, think about how your love for this activity shapes the way you talk, the other things you do, the things you think about, and the way you feel. People know you love this activity even if they have never seen you do it, right? They know because you show them you love it with your whole heart. It isn't just something you do. It is part of who you are.
That's how God wants us to love him. He wants to be more than someone we visit on Sunday mornings, more than someone we like enough to get along most of the time. He wants to be the friend we want to see every day, the one who guides everything we do, the one we think about often, and the one who makes us feel truly loved.
Read Jeremiah 29:1-14
This passage contains the first part of a message from God that Jeremiah shared with the people of Israel. What are some things that God tells them? What does he promise them in verse 13? Do you think this promise applies to you, too?
Create a verse image for Jeremiah 29:13. Draw or paint whatever you imagine when you read the verse and then add the words to your picture.
Every time you see a heart this week, remember what it means to love God with your whole heart. See how many hearts you can find!