In Matthew 22:37-38, Jesus tells a Pharisee that the greatest and first commandment is to “…love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” I’ve always paraphrased this verse in my mind to say that the greatest commandment God gives us is to love Him with all we are and all we’ve got, so to speak. Over the past year, I have started to think very specifically about what this actually means. The more I think about it, the more I realize how far short I come from living this commandment and how thankful I am that my kids get to go to a school whose educational philosophy hinges on the very ideas Jesus spoke about in this verse.
In the next several posts, I’m going to talk about what it means, in my perspective of course, to love God with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all I’ve got. I will also highlight a few areas where I see this viewpoint being reflected in Pinnacle Classical Academy. I’ll tackle the heart in this post.
All My Heart
What does it look like to love God with all my heart? The big picture answer to this can be summed up with the old adage, “It’s what’s inside that counts.” God is not simply looking for me to attend church regularly and never miss a Bible study class and smile every time I’m in public. These outward actions can be beneficial but are not always a genuine reflection of what’s inside – a reflection of our heart. God looks at the heart. He listens to the attitude I carry inside as I mull through thoughts and conversations in my head. He watches my reaction to my kids and my co-workers and my friends and my enemies. He waits for my attention as I walk through my day finding email and laundry and television more important than a 5 minute heart-to-heart with my Savior.
As a parent, I feel the same way about my kids. It’s great when they behave like angels and act politely with a smile and a please and thank you. But I know when there is bitterness behind the actions, or when they’re trying to please Mommy but deep down they’re angry or holding a grudge. I can smell a bad attitude across my house, regardless of actions. God is the same way with me. No matter how clever I may think I am, He’s got me all figured out. God is not looking for me to change my heart for Him. He simply wants me to give my heart to Him as-is so He can change it. It requires a willingness to admit the state of my heart and then hand it to the good and all-powerful God of the universe, trusting Him to transform it into something more beautiful. And that’s the secret of loving Him with all my heart.
From the Inside Out
One of the things I’ve always appreciated about the teachers at PCA is that they teach my kids how to do and be their best in their handwriting, their public speaking, their dress, their manners, and all their schoolwork. What I appreciate even more is that they care more about the heart than outward behavior. I believe this is the reason they are so effective at motivating my kids to be their best on the outside, too. They’re not looking for my kids to merely act “right,” they are looking at the state of each child’s heart and, with love, encouraging them to be the best they can be on the inside, which translates into natural motivation to be their best on the outside. I feel great comfort when I think of how the teachers at PCA are modeling and teaching my kids that loving God is something you do with your whole heart, from the inside out.
In the next post, I will discuss the idea of loving God with all my soul and share where I see this reflected at Pinnacle Classical Academy.