I used to set my alarm. When it went off, I would quietly grab my Bible and slip out into the hallway so I wouldn’t wake up my roommate. Our room was in the “T”, which meant it was at the end of the long hall and around the corner, so it was very quiet.
There I would slide down against the wall, knees pulled up to my chest, and fall asleep reading the Bible.
I did this every day for a year, because I was loving God on purpose in my daily habit but staying up too late as a college student to benefit from it.
Then there were the years when I had one in diapers and one bouncing around the house singing. My Bible would sit open on the always-messy counter, and I would walk by and purposefully spend two or three minutes studying before I went on to tuck a blonde head under my arm and read Berenstein Bears for the kajillionth time.
There have been 36 years of on-purpose.
I have worked to obey the Sh’ma Yisrael:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5 NIV)
Love him. Do it. Make it a discipline.
I have labored to do this, to love the Lord with all my strength. I have gone where he’s told me to go. I’ve forgiven people. I’ve hidden his words in my heart. I’ve repented of sin. I’ve cast out idols.
But lately there has been something new rising up inside this heart of mine, a not-on-purpose love.
Like when you’re brushing your teeth before bed, and you look out into the bedroom to see your husband is laying on top of your side of the bed to get it warm for you.
Aaah. How sweet is that?
Sweet it is.
It’s the mushy love that rises up and makes you smile, and you didn’t have to practice some discipline for it to happen. You didn’t have to work at it. You just feel it.
I’m writing to tell you, after 36 years of walking with God, there is a mushy love for God that rises up after the disciplined love.
Work at following God now –loving him with all your heart, soul, and strength.
One day you’ll realize it isn’t work anymore.