Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ (Matthew 22:37)
The human heart is wired to earn favour in the eyes of others. Many religions and philosophies function this way and through them human beings seek to justify themselves through their own efforts before others and before God. We all have this within us. We all want to be right.
But then Jesus comes along and turns our human ideas of how things are upside down. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8) So wrote John, who called himself the disciple whom Jesus loved. This is not, by nature, something that we like to admit. But we need to, and here is the reason why.
As long as we think that our efforts are the key to a successful human life, we will hold back portions of our possessions, our time and our heart because we think that we will need some of those things in order to succeed. It even happens in the lives of those of us who follow Jesus. We tend to compartmentalize our lives, giving a part to Jesus and keeping a part back for ourselves. So we are never really able to fully love God with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind.
Only those who have given their best efforts in life and found that it led to a wreck are fully open to God’s love and grace. They know that their efforts lead to nothing good, so they give up trying and let Jesus catch them as they fall into his arms. This is why, as Matthew tells us in his Gospel account, the tax collectors and prostitutes were entering the Kingdom of God ahead of the Pharisees.
Knowing that he carries them, wrecked people are freer than so-called normal people could ever be. They are freer to live, freer to be, freer to love and freer to give.
What do you want Jesus to do for you? He was complete in every way, yet he allowed himself to become totally wrecked so that, in him, we would receive the wholeness that we seek. In him, we are free to love him with our whole heart. And it starts by seeing how much we need him.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, please help me to see what a wreck I am. Then help me to see how much you love me, even in my wrecked state. Help me to rest in your loving arms. Amen.