Matthew 22:37 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
When Hayleigh (11) was very small she was not overly interested in physical affection. I would often hug and kiss on her and get rebuffed for my affection. I can clearly recall hugging her sweetly up to my body one afternoon and hearing the retort, "Mommy, can you please let me go? You're squishing me!" We laugh about this today because now she wants to sit in my lap and snuggle up next to me perhaps even more than her sisters.
This morning my scripture reading is John 12:27-50. It is days or perhaps hours before the Last Supper and Jesus is addressing the general public for the last time. I muse what I would say to my friends, neighbors and acquaintances if I knew for certain this was the last time I speak to them. There are three statements in this passage that really stick out to me this morning and I realize they sum up to a message straight to my heart.
I deeply desire to grow closer every day to Jesus. That's part of the reason I choose to give Him the first part of my day. Not only is it when I am at my best but I find spending time with Him first sets my heart and attitude for the rest of the day. The section of scripture today is a practical roadmap to a closer walk with God. Essentially, I have to decide that God is not trying to "squish" me and enjoy my relationship with Him. Let's take a look.
- Hug Him Back (Verse 32) - "But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself". When I am drawn close my a loved one, my whole body fills with peace and contentment. Jesus too, desires to draw me close. Have you ever tried to hug someone who resisted you every bit of the way? It's like trying to hug a stiff board. Hugs work much better when two are hugging not just one. James 4:8 tells us if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. If I want to grow closer to Jesus, I need to give my heart to Him.
- Hug in Public (Verse 43) - "They loved praise from men more than praise from God." In this section John relates that many Jewish leaders had placed their trust in Christ but refused to confess their faith out of fear and a desire to be accepted by others rather than God. God loves PDA (public displays of affection). He doesn't want our relationship to only be 15 minutes in the morning, He wants me to proudly walk holding His hand all day. If I want to grow closer to Jesus, I need to choose Him throughout the day with my mind.
- Hug in the Light (Verse 46) - "I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness." While much of the affection I've given or received over my life may have been done in the dark, it is actually much easier to execute if you can see what you're doing! I need to toss out anything that's shrouding my life in darkness such as sin, worry and toxic relationships. If I want to grow closer to Jesus, I need to come to Him with clean soul.
Jesus, today may I not resist your love. Instead, I want to draw closer to you so much so that our relationship is freely seen by others through Your light shining in my life.