"I will heal their defection, I will love them freely." —Hosea 14:5
The Christian life is all or nothing. The first commandment is: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mk 12:30). This is the basis of the law and the prophets and of the whole Christian life. Because Christianity is a matter of giving our "all" to the Lord, we all can be Christians. No matter how weak and limited we are, we all have an "all."
Because the Christian life is a matter of giving our all, we all can live it right now. No matter how big a mess we've made of our lives, we all have an all, always. Christianity is available to all who will give all, always. However, if we invest any of our time, money, or energy into something other than God's will, we've squandered our all, and only have a part. Then we can't obey the first commandment of Christianity, and we can't obtain the precious pearl of God's kingdom, for it costs all that we have (Mt 13:46).
However, if we repent of giving something to anything other than the Lord, we get our all back so we can then give it to the Lord. During this Lent, look at the all of the crucified Jesus. He gave His all and wants our all because He loves us unconditionally, sacrificially, and eternally. Give Him your life in return — all of it.
Prayer: Father, I surrender to Your love the one thing I've held back for myself.
Promise: "Return, O Israel, to the Lord, your God; you have collapsed through your guilt. Take with you words, and return to the Lord." —Hos 14:2-3
Praise: Bessie kept the faith and continued to share it even as a 100-year-old in the nursing home.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape on Developing a Deep, Personal Relationship with Jesus on audio AV 52-1 or video V-52.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 14, 2007
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