Imagine going on a special Valentine’s date with your husband, looking up into his eyes, and with a big smile saying, “I love you with all my… bowels!” What??? Bowels (intestines) are something we would rather not talk about. Why would you put love and bowels together? Often the Bible speaks of your bowels as the center of your tender emotions – compassion (I John 3:17), mercy and kindness (Colossians 3:12), longing (Philippians 1:8) and more.
Maybe for now we should just stick with love as being from the heart – a little prettier picture! There are many things people do from the heart. You may have heard someone say, “He puts his whole heart into it.” Perhaps he was talking about sports, music, drama, education, crafts, teaching, painting, working, dieting, or even soul winning. When someone does something with his whole heart, he does it completely, with determination, enthusiasm, commitment, and devotion. This is not being ho-hum, or maybe today but not tomorrow. It is not holding back, or pretending. In the Bible, there are several things God tells you to do with all your heart. You are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). Also, you are to serve Him (I Sam. 12:24), trust Him (Prov. 3:5), obey Him (Deut.30:2), turn to Him (Joel 2:12), believe in Him, (Acts 8:37), and seek Him (Jeremiah 29:13). What a challenge this should be for the new year!
As one song says,“With my whole heart I will praise God,I will sing of His goodness and grace;With my whole heart I will love God,I will serve Him through all of my days.”(Frank Garlock, Musical Ministries, copyright 1977)
The Lord does not want love or service from just half of your heart, or ¾ of your heart, or even 99.99% of your heart. Half-hearted love will not please Him. Decide today to sing truthfully, “I surrender all,” rather than “I surrender half,” or “I surrender most.” So what does the Lord command His children? It is basically summarized in Joshua 22:5, “But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law,… to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”