By Nita Johnson
What is God looking for today? He is looking for a heart that He can reveal His love to. He yearns to reveal Himself, and yet the revelation of God is never complete without the revelation of His love.
Consider the life of Moses. He was a prince in Egypt the first forty years of his life. He then left Egypt, abandoned himself to a life in the wilderness tending the flock of his father-in-law. This went on for another 40 years, until he was broken. During this time, he transformed from a prince into shepherd. He was being prepared by God, as it would turn out, for something far greater—not just to lead captive Israel out of Egypt, but, more importantly, to bring the revelation of the one and only living God. Here is a man who knew firsthand the heights of glory and the depths of rejection. Then came a point in his life when he touched the depths of sorrow, suffering, and humiliation—but only to be lifted up again to grandeur such as he had never known before. Moses was born to be a king among men. That was his calling. But, more importantly, he was born to give the revelation of God—not only to Israel, but to all mankind.
Deuteronomy 6:4–9 (Amplified Bible)
“Hear O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord [the only Lord]. And you shall love the Lord your God with all of your [mind and] heart and with your entire being and with all of your might. And these words which I am commanding you this day shall be [first] in your own minds and hearts; [then] You shall whet and sharpen them so as to make them penetrate and teach and impress them diligently upon the [minds and] hearts of your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets (forehead bands) between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Moses, exalted prince before being reduced to someone counted as least among men, was elevated again to the heights at which time he came back to Israel with this premier message: Above all—love the Lord your God with all of your mind, with all of your heart, with all of your might, with all of your soul, and love His Word. Love His Word: teach it to your children. Love His Word: reveal it to your children. Love His Word: take it to the next generation. Love His Word. Why? Because, it is the revelation of God.
Hope is anchored in the heart of man through the revelation of God. It is wonderful to have visions and dreams. Moses saw God face to face—he even ate with Him! We also know that he spent time alone with God, with nothing to eat or drink for 40 days and 40 nights. He was sustained by God alone. He was given the awesome privilege of seeing into the heart of God, of seeing into eternity in God, of seeing what made God God. He saw the very unfathomable splendor of the character and nature of God, touching Him, being touched by Him, being transformed by Him, and in the process of transformation, this lowly man of God learned the ways of the Almighty God. Being molded into God’s image, Moses entered upon the journey of finding his way in God.
Moses was one of the most privileged human beings that have ever walked the face of the earth. And I say that not because of the great signs and wonders he did, or because he was revered by Jewish people down through the ages, or even because he had a glimpse of God. What Moses had was so much greater than a glimpse of God. His knowledge of God transcended intellectual understanding. His understanding and knowledge of God awakened his soul and spirit, transporting him back into the life as it was before the fall. He understood what it was like to walk with/in God and to walk on this earth—on these two planes simultaneously. He became so united to the mind of God that his understanding and his comprehension of God was moved into something beyond what we as humanity can as a rule know.
I can see God. I can come back after yet another divine encounter and talk to you about it, and tell you something more about God. Seeing God is always an experience that deepens one’s hunger for divine intimacy. But Moses was thrust into something so much greater than that. So deep was the revelation, so deep was the penetration of his experience, so deep and complete was the transformation that resulted. Moses came back to us and said: “Love the Lord your God.” How? With all of your mind, all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your strength, for nothing else is acceptable, nothing else is permissible. Nothing else will satisfy. The knowledge of God that comes in loving Him with all of your mind, all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your strength is too great to be written by the pen of man. It must be known because you have paid the price to walk in it.
The day is very close at hand when all kinds of difficulties will sweep across the earth. Great difficulties! I have been saying this since the 80’s, and I wrote about it in my book Prepare for the Winds of Change II. The angel of the Lord called these days “treacherous times.” Those are amazing words for an angel to use. It is one thing for a human to say we have been through treacherous times, but it is an entirely different thing for an angel to use those words. Difficult times are coming. That is why, the Bible forewarns these times of difficulty, strongly encouraging God’s people to live above and beyond the approaching calamitous storm. There is but only one way to do this: Love the Lord your God. How? With all of your mind. How much? All of your mind. That doesn’t mean we think about God at this very moment, and then maybe again in an hour, and again an hour after that. You must learn to love Him with all of your mind so that all of your thoughts lend themselves to pleasing Him continually. When you love God with all of your mind, you do not have time to yield to the thoughts and the ways of the flesh because your thoughts are focused entirely on pleasing Him. This is how you love Him with all of your mind.
To love Him with all of your heart requires that your heart is undivided. You do not love the world here and love God there. So many people have their Christianity compartmentalized: they think “I can be a certain kind of Christian in church, but in school, work, and home I can be myself.” Even ministers will preach love but not walk in love. Sometimes a wife thinks her preacher husband is her worst enemy. But come Sunday he preaches love. Their Christianity is segmented and divided up in accordance to the manner they choose to live their lives.
God is not looking for a divided heart. He is looking for a heart that has been set aside wholly and completely to love Him. We are able to do that because God is love. If God were not love, how could we trust Him with our love, our thoughts, and our hearts? But He is love. He is the very essence of love. And He teaches us how to love. He desires not only to teach us the ways of love, but He desires to give to us the capacity to love as He loves. He desires to set His love in our hearts so that we can love others with His love, and so that we can be willing to walk in whatever way He might call us to walk on behalf of that love. He wants to empower us to sacrifice as He would sacrifice for love, and to go where love would go. He wants to give us the capacity to do what we would not or could not do on our own. It takes faith to love. He is willing to give us that faith. It takes grace to love. He is willing to give us that grace. It takes strength in our soul to love with His love. And He is also willing to give us that strength. Such love takes teaching and training, so God instructs our intellect how to do so by His Spirit. To love the Lord your God with all of your heart takes a united heart and a changed heart.
As a Christian, make your quest to love the Lord your God with all of your mind, with all of your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your strength. Abandon the quest to become known or famous. Yield up the quest to own the greatest business—or to become the greatest student, husband, or wife. Our chief quest should be pinned on this one thing—to love the Lord our God with all of our mind, all of our heart, all of our strength, and all of our soul. If you love Him in that manner, you will be the best at whatever you are doing at any given moment. Why? Because in order to love Him in that way, He must possess all your faculties. And as He possesses your faculties, He lives His life through you and enables you to fulfill your God given part. If He has called you to fail in the eyes of man, you will fail with a joyful heart. If He has called you to succeed, you will succeed with a joyful heart. If He has called you to ride the wave of comfort and earthly gain, you will not be touched by it in any carnal fashion. Such privilege, which every unregenerate soul craves after, will not touch you. In fact you will hardly notice. If He has called you to live as He lived—humbly and poorly even though you are fairly well off—it will not touch you. You will not notice. It will not matter. Why? Because you are loving the Lord your God with all of your mind, with all of your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your strength.
What part of you should you leave for yourself? What part should you leave for your own endeavors? What part should you withhold for the praise of your own efforts? Rather, you should ask, what part do you have the right to own apart from Him? He has called us to love Him as He loves us. And He loves us with all of His mind, and all of His heart, and all of His soul, and all of His strength. He has paid the greatest sacrifice in yielding up His son, yet everyday He still pays the sacrifice to love us in that way. He takes us through difficult situations when it is going to be very uncomfortable for Him, due in part to our all-too-human response. He knows we may blame Him for our uncomfortable situation and withdraw from Him. He knows there is going to be losses. Yet He knows it is necessary for us to walk through these paths. But you see, His love for us is without self-interest. He cares only for our interest. So He is willing to suffer for our good. And if our good is going to come out of difficult situations, He will lead us through the difficult situations because His love commands it. We do not understand this love. If we did, our hearts would always be at peace even in the most difficult situations. Am I not right? We would know that no matter how difficult anything is, we are wrapped in the arms of love, and so we are safe. That love can be trusted.
Unfortunately, we judge God by our own selfish love. And, therefore, we do not understand Him. However, if we can love Him with all of our mind, all of our heart, all of our soul, and all of our strength, we can understand God. That is what Moses became. He became love personified and he grew to understand God because he walked in God’s disciplines. He came to love the way God loves. He came to love God the way he was created to love Him. If he was going to leave a memorial of his leadership for Israel, if anything at all, it was not going to be for bequeathing the Law. Rather, he wanted to be known for teaching Israel to love God above all things on this earth, to love God with all of their mind, all of their heart, all of their soul, all of their strength, and to teach their children to do the same. That is what Moses wanted to do and it is that for which he wanted to be remembered. He wanted to be remembered as the man who pointed the way out of the temporal into the eternal life for which man was created, the life of the Spirit. Yet he became famous for the Law, because those he sought to teach this very valuable truth never embraced his loftier vision of loving God above all other endeavors. So they grabbed a hold of something tangible, something they could embrace. This is what happens to a Christian when we yield up the best. We begin to cling to things that are tangible. We produce within our hearts rituals and traditions, unaware we are leaving the best behind.
God is gracious and kind, and He is good. He is wonderful and He wants—more than we could ever understand—to reveal Himself to the heart of man. He looks to and fro throughout the world, looking for that one who is willing to separate himself or herself from all things that would hinder the revelation of God, so that He can reveal Himself to them. You would think that the world would be filled with people who have known the revelation of God. If this God is so benevolent, so good, so kind, so merciful, so wonderful, you would think that the world would be filled with people who are willing to abandon every hindrance, every object that would stand in the way of beholding Him face to face, and to become conformed to His image. You would think that, wouldn’t you? Alas, only a small handful are willing to pay the price, and to give up the world, so that they might love God with all of their might, all of their heart, all of their soul, and all of their strength.
God is the glory of man. Man is not his own glory. However, we as Christians unknowingly attempt to pervert this divine relationship. We want to use Him to glorify ourselves. God is the glory of man, but He is the glory of man like the beauty is the glory of the flower. He is the glory of man when man becomes nothing and is fully cocooned in the glory of the Father. Only when man loses sight of himself and obtains the vision of God does God become the tangible glory of man. Of course, in an important sense, God is always the glory of man. We just do not know it until we have lost our own glory. In the loss of our own glory is the beauty of Christ revealed. In the loss of our own glory is the beauty of the Father revealed. In the loss of our own glory is the beauty of eternity revealed. In the loss of our own glory is the beauty of a deep and ever-abiding relationship with God. We must look to Him! Because of the evil quality of this present day, we must turn from the things that distract us. We must come like Mary of old to seek God only. Seek to know Him. Seek to love Him. Seek to serve Him. Seek to be possessed of Him.
Our life is not complete until this transition is completed. It is our glory to complete it here rather than in heaven. It is our wisdom to love God with all of our mind and with all of our heart. It shows intelligence to love God with all of our soul. Paul said it is our reasonable service to love Him with all of our might. Dear Christian, if you could only know what you are giving up because you love God and the world too. If you could only begin to understand what you are forfeiting because you love God and you love yourself too. The revelation of God is worth any price—even worth dying for. In fact, we are called to die, that He might live in us. That is what we have been called to. As Christians, we are called to die to our lower life for the sake of the revelation of God. The loss in not doing so is so great that if you knew its full extent you would tear out your heart as it would be so unbearable. Isaiah said your eyes shall see the King in His beauty. Jesus is the most beautiful being in all of existence. When our eyes behold His beauty, we must admit nothing can compare with it. When we are given permission to see a little bit of heaven and the dwelling place of His glory, we stand in awe. But we come back into this earth, into the temporal plane, and we lose the vision and our eyes are once again darkened. We begin to desire what we should not touch—those things that cannot profit the soul. We begin to give up what would have profited us the most—the vision of God.
My prayer—our prayer really—must be couched in this manner: I pray that You, O God, would give me the wisdom to let go of all that distracts, that You would give me the heart to love You only, to love You wholly, that You would give me the understanding of mind to desire to focus only upon You, so that my whole being becomes riveted upon You in this life. Give me the understanding of mind and the wisdom beyond my years to know that You are love and that my satisfaction, my peace, my security, my hope is at rest in You and in You alone. Neither man nor circumstances can make me secure. Man cannot give me hope and neither can circumstances. But You, O God, are love. You are love, and therefore You can be trusted with all of me.
If we are wise, that is how we would pray. We would follow up our prayers with the appropriate actions. We would separate ourselves from all things that would hinder the revelation of God. Does that mean you reject your husband or your wife? No. Love does not reject, love embraces. But it does mean that you allow God to purify that love so that it becomes divine love. This love is always in its place in every circumstance and in every relationship. This love allows God to stand in His place, where peace can dwell. Love the Lord your God with all your mind, all your heart, all your soul, all of your strength. Whet (stir up, stimulate) and sharpen these words that I give to you in the chambers of your heart and mind. Whet and sharpen them, make them penetrate, instruct, and impress not only your children but your very soul, so that the revelation of God—the Word Himself—becomes your very sustenance.
Why do we not seek after God first, wholly and completely? Because we do not have the revelation that has been made available to us in His Word. We live by second-day manna, someone else’s insights, understanding, and revelation. We have never made the Word our veritable foundation, the very fountain of our life. We have never made the Word the hunger of our soul and the passion of our life. We have never lived for the life of His Word. Some people like to study the Word. They like to hear theological treatises on the Word. They love to read commentaries on the Word. Yet they never learn to live by the Spirit of the Word and for the life of the Word. They have not done that because they have not learned how important it is to whet and sharpen the Word, so that it may penetrate their hearts and cut away the world and the ways of the world. Whetted and sharpened, the Word is a powerful transforming influence for remaking and reforming hearts and reconditioning minds. I am not saying that this can be done by memorizing Scriptures, although it is important to memorize the Word. I am talking about a relationship with the Word that is developed by the Spirit of God working in conjunction with His own life-giving influence from His Word. It is to hunger for the Word like you hunger for food. My dear brothers and sisters, our hope in life is to learn to love truth to the point that we will allow it to reform us inwardly. When we search the Scriptures to find the truth, we will find that which lifts us up out of the lie and deception of the world and into the reality of God.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have your heart filled with the glory of God? God can give you the grace and the wisdom to make that your life’s quest. God can and will give you the grace to persevere. Even if it seems too difficult now, He will give you the grace. It is His Word—the Spirit of the Word—that can trim away what cannot stand before God.
I don’t know how to explain to you what’s happening inside of my heart, my soul right this minute. There’s a glory brewing and arising inside of me—a living glory that is moving inside of me. It is like a fire forming around my heart. A fire is forming around my inner man even as I try to talk to you. It’s the fire of His love, the fire of His passion for this truth. Love the Lord your God! With all of your might, with all of your heart, with all of your soul, with all of your strength. Love Him. Love Him passionately. Love Him fervently. Love Him devotedly. Love Him with all of you. Do not say no to Him. Do not retreat from Him. Do not let guilt drive you away from Him. Do not let fear put up walls between you and Him. Do not let love and passion of earthly things impede the journey. It is not easy to love Him only, to love Him wholly, to love Him in the way in which He is worthy. It is not easy, but it is doable. Anyone can do it. A child can do it, an aged man can do it, anyone can do it—because God is willing to give the grace to anyone who is willing to pay the price. Anyone can have their mind saturated with Christ. Anyone can be given a new heart from heaven. You can’t do it on your own strength. You cannot give yourself a new heart. But He can and He is willing to help you accomplish that. When He does, He wants you to live out of that new heart and not to desire the return of the old heart. There is an aching in the heart of God for a people who will turn to Him and love Him the way He loves us. He aches to receive those people and reveal Himself to them. He yearns to reveal Himself to those who will allow Him to do so. He wants you to understand the God who is love. He wants you to understand Him, to feel Him, to experience Him, to know Him, to become one with Him.
God is LOVE! If humanity can really understand that one truth, we’re doing great. What I’m trying to say to you is that there is a life that is more beautiful, more pure, more holy, more desirable than anything you’re living here. It is a life more wonderful. It’s so free. It’s so liberating because it’s His life. And the only thing you have to do to have it is to let go of the things of the world. Sounds simple doesn’t it? It is very simple, but it’s not easy. Because the truth is we love the world too, don’t we? We do. You can say it. Yes! Because we do. There’s pleasure in it for a moment. However, God is saying to us—would you take the words which I am commanding you this day. What are the words? Love the Lord. How? All of your mind, all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your strength. Take the words that I command you this day. Whet and sharpen them. Make them penetrate your innermost being. Will you do that?
Do you know how to whet and sharpen the Word? You do it through prayer. You pray the Word. You meditate upon the Word until it begins to be your governor. And when you go off the sacred path you force yourself back to the way of the Word. Now if God is love what must you be to walk in union with Him? You must be love. And so what Scripture are you going to look at? If you don’t look any other place in the Bible, you can look at two places. May I tell you where they are? The love chapter—I Corinthians 13. Right? May I tell you another place? Right there in the Gospels, where it speaks of Jesus hanging on the cross. That is what love does. It dies for the sake of those it loves. It never seeks to be lifted up. It never seeks to be glorified. It always seeks the betterment of the object of its affection. So you go to the cross and you daily remind yourself of the beauty of the ways of the cross. It’s not about who’s right or about who’s wrong. It’s about “Am I dying to myself?”
“Am I learning love?” “Am I learning to be like Him?” And when you stumble or fail, humble yourself. Return to His Word. Pick up the lesson again. Learn it some more. Dying is not easy. It’s difficult. But it’s doable. Love compels it. Love demands it.
If you will follow Christ, what must you do? Pick up your cross—right? Deny yourself and come follow Him. If you will be His disciple, you must do what? You must pick up your cross, deny yourself, and come follow Him. What does it mean to be the Lord’s disciple? It means to be his student. What are you learning? What is your lesson? What is your schooling? It is the School of the Spirit. That is the school you’re in. The lesson is the life of the Spirit. It is learning to love God with all of your mind, all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your strength. Are we there? No. Are we far away from that grandiose height? Much further than we’d ever want to know. But can we do it—can we scale the seemingly forbidding mountains of divine love? Yes. Because not only is He LOVE, He is GRACE. And He gives grace to the humble. So, what better time to be humble than when you have failed? You just go back to Him and say I did it. I was wrong and I need Your grace because You know if I have an opportunity to fail love I will. I’m selfish, I’m self-minded, but I’m Yours. And I need your grace, and He will give it. Why? Because He loves you. He wants all of you. And He knows he’ll never get all of you unless He does give you grace to yield up the sacrifice.
What will you desire tomorrow? When the sun awakens the dawn and you open your eyes, what will be your desire? More of the world? Or more of God? Will you desire to throw away all that obstructs your vision? I hope so. Because in this hour, God is calling His people to come close. And those who answer will be drawn close and they will be given all that they desire. Those that don’t want it, He will let them stay as far away as they want to stay. But there is much trouble out there. The place of safety and refuge is right by the Father’s side. Right by the Lord’s side. That’s your safety. That’s your refuge. That’s your beauty. That’s your hope—staying right by the Father’s side. Nothing can hurt you there. No, not in any way. No matter the troubles and perplexities, nothing can hurt you when you are by the Father’s side. When you’re roaming out there in the world, many things can hurt you and they will hurt you. They’ll bruise you up, bang you up, and when you get to heaven you’ll look back at it all and think how stupid I was that I didn’t pull up close to Jesus when I could have. Is He worth loving? Is He worth loving completely? Is He worth loving wholly? Is He worth loving with all of your mind, all of your heart, all your soul, all your strength? Of course He is!