I saw that recently and I can relate. If you’ve known me for any amount of time you know how much I love dogs, especially rescue dogs and I will have one of my furry companions running around with me most of the time. What I’ve come to not only appreciate but really love about my rescue dogs is the kinds of doors that they open with other people.
Often, I will bring one of my more well behaved pups to the office with me, something I’ve done for years now, even when I lived in Jersey. When I get to meet with people in the office, after making sure they are comfortable with dogs beforehand, I watch as they start to pet the dogs fur and doors just open up inside them and they start to talk about what is going on with them all the while letting the furry companion give them a measure of comfort just by their presence and furry touch.
Walking down the street in my community and people just can’t help but stop and spend a few minutes petting the furry pooches and talking with me and Shiloh. Last summer, Shiloh and I had an experience out of the blue to talk to two teenagers who absolutely loved our dogs (we had the whole pack with us that day) and while we were talking we got to hear about some of the struggles the kids were going through and tell them a little bit about Jesus all because we went for a walk with our dogs.
It is true, IHEARTDOGS and I thank God for the blessings that God works through His creations, especially those four-legged furry ones. I know not all of you have the same crazy love towards dogs that I do. Many of you are, (gasp!) IHEARTCATS! (what are you thinking!?) or IHEARTHORSES or IHEARTBASKETBALL and IHEARTFOOTBALL.
What is it that you IHEART____________???
Do you IHEARTJESUS???
Maybe you do. What does that actually look like in your own life? Is it something like this:
Where Jesus is just one of the many things that you IHEART. No different really from football or books, just a part of the list of interests that you have in your life.
Or is it more like this:
Where Jesus is still in the list of stuff you like but falls pretty far down on the priority list of what takes your time, energy and focus in your day to day life.
Is that you? Is that how you see Jesus in your own day to day life? Is that all of us, from one time or another? Then we’ve got to hear these passages that tell us what God thinks about that.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Luke 12:30)
For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. (Deut. 4:24)
God does not share. God does not share us with anyone else. God wants us all to himself. None of this, IHEARTJESUS under IHEARTSLEEPINGINSUNDAYS. God wants you all to himself and this is why.
If you love something, anything more than you love Jesus and this comes out in your daily life then in your daily life you are following that other thing and making it more important than God. To make something more important than God is to worship that thing and to make it your God. But anything else other than the true God in your life will not ever be able to deliver you from death, from the bondage of your damaged life and from the devil that wants to see you go to hell eternally. God is jealous of you and for you because God loves you unconditionally and does not want you to perish eternally.
But here is the thing. So often, people mistakenly believe they have to give up all of the other IHEARTS________ to follow Jesus and in many cases, yeah that is true. But also in so many other ways, loving the Lord your God with al of your heart, mind and spirit leads you to loving and caring for all of those other things in your life in a much more balanced, healthy and loving way. In a way that recognizes all of those other blessings in your life, like dogs and cats and even football, can be and are blessings from God and in loving God you can more rightly love them. Love them without putting upon them unattainable and unrealistic expectations like for them to give you your identity and purpose in life, to save you from hell and to forgive all of your sins and all of your guilt. Only Jesus can do that, don’t expect anything else to fulfill those most important aspects and needs in your life.
IHEARTJESUS, first and foremost, every other love follows from there.