For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
We were reading the Easter story before bed tonight when my 4 year old (Nicole) and I engaged in a riveting discussion about the cross. We looked at a picture of the cross and discussed the "bad ouchies" that Jesus endured during His death. I explained once again that Jesus had to die on the cross so that we can go to heaven and be with Him forever. She began to rattle off a list of friends and family members, asking if each one would be in heaven with her. After each name I assured her that yes, these people would also be in heaven if they loved Jesus with all their heart.
Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' Matthew 22:37
She boldly proclaimed that SHE loved Jesus with all HER heart and that she was "so happy to go to heaven one day". My 2 1/2 year old (Joshua), following in perfect suit (and in his own foreign language) proclaimed, "Joshua love Jesus too!" Excitedly I asked him, "Joshua, do you love Jesus with all your heart too?" He thought for a moment and frowned, "No," he said, "Joshua LOVE helicopters."
Oh, the wisdom of a 2 year old! As I thought about it later, I realized how right he was. How can we, as believers, claim to love Jesus with ALL our hearts when our hearts are consumed with so many other things...some good (our families, ministries, and fellowship of good friends) and some not so good (our homes, finances, careers and the opinions of others). Of course Joshua couldn't love Jesus with all his heart when something as wonderful as helicopters was taking up so much room! A very wise person once told me that in order to truly pick up your cross you must put down everything else you are carrying. It takes 2 hands (and a whole heart) to carry your cross for Jesus.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:19-20
This also got me thinking about all the non-believers out there who think that Jesus could never love them because of the things they do hold in their hearts. Addictions, wrong choices, and ugly scars. They think, "when I get myself cleaned up, then maybe I'll be ready for Jesus." That is the beautiful thing about our Lord, He takes us just as we are. He knows that we will never be able to set those worldly things aside or clean out our hearts by our own power. All we have to do is surrender our hearts to Him, tattered and broken and filled with garbage as they are...and He will do the dirty work for us!
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10
Some of us may already have an idea of the big things taking up room in our heart, squeezing out precious space for Jesus...and some of us may not. If you can't think of anything that is holding you back from a passionate whole-hearted love for Jesus, then ask Him to show you... and in His time, He will.
In the meantime, God bless you and Happy Easter!
HE IS RISEN INDEED!
Our little princess turned 4 on Saturday. We had a wonderful time sharing pizza, cupcakes and presents. I can't believe how fast she is growing up! She loves ballet and all things girl, but at the same time she is often found playing with monster trucks and getting dirty outside (she especially likes mud)...what a nice combination! She also has a magnificent love for Jesus and frequently asks people if Jesus lives in their heart too. Oh, if we only had the same gumption as adults! When was the last time you asked someone if Jesus lived in their heart? We are so blessed to have Nicole as our oldest child, she is paving the way quite nicely for our younger children. Thank you Lord for our precious big girl!