Summary: Jesus told the young man that he "close to the Kingdom of God." What did He mean by that?
OPEN: In my files I have the observations someone made about how our culture uses the word “heart.”
• For example, a person without compassion is described as "heartless," and we urge them to "have a heart."
• The truly evil are "black-hearted" while godly saints have "hearts of gold."
• Courageous soldiers are "brave hearted."
• Jilted lovers are "brokenhearted."
• If we need to speak intimately with someone, we have a "heart-to-heart" talk.
• But when we lose our passion for life, when a deadness sets in which we cannot seem to shake, we confess, "My heart's just not in it."
• And our deepest hurts we call "heartaches."
• But when we love someone as deeply as we can - we’re said to love "with all our heart."
APPLY: In our story today Jesus says that the greatest commandment in all Scripture is to “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
I. We often speak of how much God loves us.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”
But sometimes people fail to think in terms of how WE feel toward God.
I mean, we’ll go to church, give our offerings, do all kinds of good works, work for the kingdom
but often - in our prayers – all we talk about our needs and wants.
Rarely do we take the time to tell God how much we love Him.
Rarely do we spend the time telling Him why we love Him.
We’ll do our duty and presume God loves us but for many believers, the idea of emotionally loving Him is somehow hard for them to wrap their minds around.
By contrast, Psalm 42:1 tells us, “As the deer pants for water so my soul pants for You”
Psalm 84:2 declares “My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”
Psalm 143:6 “I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.”
And Isaiah 26:9a “My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you...”
This is a love that is an all-consuming passion - a desire for God that goes so deep that it can literally hurt sometimes.
But what if I don’t have that kind of love for God?
What if I don’t have this kind of passion – that love for God that comes from loving Him with all of my heart?
If I don’t have it, how do I get it?
Well – in each of those Scriptures we just read – the writer is crying out to God because he seems to understand/remember what God has done for him in the past.
The psalmist says
“I REMEMBER the days of long ago;
I MEDITATE on all your works
and CONSIDER what your hands have done.” Ps 143:5
This man spends time just thinking about what God has done, and praising Him for His goodness. He is spending deliberate time thanking God for His mighty works.
Philippians 4:6-7 says
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Remember what God has done for you in the past.
And when we do this, not only will anxiety melt away, but you’ll experience a peace that passes all understanding. It almost defies explanation, but that’s what we’ll receive.
Loving God with all of our hearts, is a love for God that is saturated with thanksgiving.
ILLUS: In the middle of President Lincoln's Presidency, an elderly lady made an appointment to see him. As she entered his office, he inquired, "How can I be of service to you, Madam?"
The lady answered, "Mr. President, I know you are a very busy man, and I have not come to ask you for anything. I simply came to bring you this box of cookies."
There was a long silence. Tears flowed from Lincoln’s eyes as he began:
"Madam, I am greatly moved by what you have done. For since I have become President, people have come into this office one after another asking for favors and demanding things from me. You are the first person who has ever entered these premises asking no favor but bringing a gift. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
In our prayers, we need to learn to deliberately set aside time to come into God’s presence – not asking favors - but bringing the gift of grateful heart. That’s what it means to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts.