With all Your Heart -- -- a Christian Devotional on craving the sacred romance
By Debra Torres The man stepped into the department store and took a quick look around. He was there for one thing, and he wanted to make it snappy.
He never really cared for Valentine’s Day, seeing it as a mandate from society telling him how to love.
How could the rules of a holiday determine how and when he expressed his love for her?
He wanted to do that in his own timing. His own way.
But here he was, joining ranks with all the other husbands who succumbed to the demands of the day. Looking around, he noticed signs pointing him to displays of chocolates and jewelry telling him just how to celebrate and just how much to spend.
Rattling the change he had in his pocket, he found himself hoping his wife hadn’t seen the signs. Money was scarce.
He approached the “for her” card section, and noticed he wasn’t alone.
Dozens of other weary looking men were grabbing at cards filled with someone else’s thoughts.
Some valentines were funny, some were dirty, some had photos of couples that looked nothing like he and his wife.
Letting out an audible sigh he reached for one, feeling his stomach lurch.
A voice broke into his thoughts as someone beside him selected a card, “There, now I’m off the hook,” the stranger said.
The man dropped his card back into its slot and walked out of the store without a purchase.
He had no candy hearts, no chocolate, no glimmering red balloons-- only a deep conviction to show his wife his love for her -- his way.
And that was exactly what she needed.
-------------------------------- This story, a bit embellished on my part, is an account of one of the first Valentine’s Days my husband and I shared together.
I remembered it one day when I was thinking about God and how we express our love to him.
We do these things because they’re expected of us and sometimes, in the demands of all the “doing,” – we forget why.
I’ve read a little from the book “The Sacred Romance” by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge and have been blown away by its description of the deep, penetrating and intense love of God.
The authors write: “For above all else, the Christian life is a love affair of the heart. It cannot be lived primarily as a set of principles or ethics. It cannot be managed with steps and programs. It cannot be lived exclusively as a moral code leading to righteousness.”
Curtis and Eldredge recount Jesus’ response to the religious expert who asked him how he could get eternal life. Remember the conclusion? “‘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 neighbor as yourself’” (Luke 10:27).
They authors go on to say: “The truth of the gospel is intended to free us to love God and others with our whole heart.
"When we ignore this heart aspect of our faith and try to live out our religion solely as correct doctrine or ethics, our passion is crippled, or perverted, and the divorce of our soul from the heart purposes of God toward us is deepened.”
I know that’s some pretty deep thinking, right?
But we’ve all probably felt it.
That longing to know God more, and then the brick wall we slam into when we replace that longing with rushed activity for him.
When I was in eleventh grade, our English class was studying the American Dream and I remember our teacher, Mrs. Perez, going over a historical sermon by Jonathan Edwards.
Since she was on the topic of Christianity, Mrs. Perez decided to pose a religious question to the class and asked if anyone of us was “Born Again.”
I’m sure I squirmed in my seat, but there was no denying it – I had recently become a Christian – and my hand shot up.
It was her next question that threw me.
“Okay, so what does that mean, Debbie?” Yikes! I didn’t know what to say, so I used the first thing that popped into my head.
“It means you have to witness.”
Lame, I know – but I was a year into my new faith and that’s all I could come up with. Nothing about the breathtaking love of God, the joy of walking everyday with Him or the peace that comes with the assurance of my salvation.
My answer was a “doing” answer.
And maybe that’s just where I was with my walk with God at the time. But, I don’t know – I’m thinking that God wants more from us than obligatory gestures.
Yes, church, Bible study and witnessing are all important parts of our Christian walk, but maybe we just need to make sure we never forget what drives us to do them.
It’s because we love him with all our heart.
Here are some Bible verses that'll help you on your journey:
Isaiah 29:13 New Living Translation
13 And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.
1 Samuel 12:24 New International Version 1984
24 But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.
Proverbs 4:23 New International Version 1984
23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.