Shema: Windows Not Lists

I’ve always found New Year’s Resolutions dumb. Most resolutions are kept about as long as it takes to say them.

Yet I think we all agree that taking time at the end of the year to reflect on the year that was and the year to come is a good thing. It’s a natural part of the rhythm of the calendar as one year moves into the next to consider where we’re at and where we want to be.

Many of us might also agree that loving and knowing God more would be something we’d like to do in 2017.

I want to share with you all a practice that I started a few years back that begins this time of year that gives me focus and direction for the upcoming year.

There’s an ancient Jewish prayer called “The Shema” that Jesus quoted that says “and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.”

The heart, soul, mind and strength are considered all of who we are and so the prayer essentially is a reminder to love God with ALL of ourselves.

We live in a time where most put God on a list like this:

IMPORTANT THINGS

Family

Job

God

Mortgage

Health

Marvel Movies

That might seem good. I mean, God made the cut of important things, right?

However, the Shema is more about a worldview than simply putting God on the list of things that are meaningful.

Here’s how it should be:

God is more like a window. He’s a lens by which we see the other things on the list.

 FAMILY

GOD                      HEALTH

                              MORTGAGE

                              MARVEL MOVIES

When we view our world through the lens of God then the other things fall in place more easily.

I treat my family better when I look them through God’s lens than if I were to put them on the list as co-equals.

I’ll get more enjoyment out of Marvel Movies (like the new Dr. Strange) when I watch it with a lens that looks to show and affirm Gospel truths and lessons as opposed to just watching it for crazy mind bending effects.

 

These two ideas: God is the lens by which we view the world and God wants us to love him with ALL that we are has become the foundation of my devotional life (the time I spend with God).

 

Over the remainder of the week I’m going to share with you my practice of evaluating each year how I will live out the Shema – loving God with my heart, soul, mind and strength.

Because going deeper in your faith with Christ isn’t accidental. It’s intentional.

I hope to see you tomorrow as we talk about loving God with your heart!

Also coming soon will be a return to the original passion of this blog as we’ll count down the Sweet 16 of Sweet Things from ’16!

 

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