I had an interesting conversation yesterday afternoon that started with talking about God’s character, and turned to the question of “integration.”

The discussion focused on the reality that we as believers, and maybe especially in Western culture/ mindset., like to Pigeon-hole things. In other words, we like our lives to be broken into manageable segments. We have the “work” part of our lives, the “family” part of our lives, the “religious  or church” part of our lives, and on and on it goes. This includes God. We have the tendency to keep Him safely in His own room, but we don’t necessarily let Him wander around in the other parts of our lives. So we are ok with leaving Him out of the workplace, politics, recreation and sports. He belongs in church on Sundays. He has His place. We don’t say it that way, but we live that way.

That might seem a bit crass, but the reality is that we tend toward that more than we care to admit. Our conversation eventually turned to the issue of how tightly we hold to our theological convictions. Whether we are a Calvinist, or an Armenian, pre-Trib, post-Trib or whatever… sometimes we argue these convictions as if God’s future, depended on it. It seems sometimes that those who argue the most vigorously seem to do so out of an insecurity that if their “system” were ever to not fit together perfectly, it would all come crashing down around them. There is no room for “not knowing.”

Now before you get all hot and bothered and think that I am against systems of belief and theological understanding, let me assure you that is not what I am saying. My major in seminary was in Systematic Theology. Paul wrote the book of Romans, inspired by the Holy Spirit, as one of the greatest books of theology we have in the Bible. It’s not “having” a system that is the problem. It is holding to a system so tightly that we act, whether we mean to or not, as though we have God all figured out. And when you say it like that, most of us would realize that is the height of arrogance. Let us make sure that we first of all allow ourselves the reality of not knowing everything about our infinite God. And secondly, let’s tear down the walls that we have built to keep God in our tightly organized boxes. It’s ok not to know!

What does this have to do with integration? It goes back to my initial premise, that when we talk about revival and transformation, we must begin at the beginning, and that beginning is what Jesus called the “First and Great Commandment,” to love the Lord with ALL our heart, and ALL our soul, and ALL our mind. I would say that is pretty much integration. God is not interested in being kept in a box in our lives, whether that is a box of moral exclusion, or a box of theological systems. Why is it that people like George Barna keep showing us as believers that we are really not any different in our lifestyles than the “world?” It is because we are not integrated. Or better put, we  have not known how to integrate God into every area of our lives and allow Him the freedom to be God in every part. It is because we do not love Him with ALL our being, every part of who we are. And maybe we don’t really believe that He loves us enough that whatever He does an allows in our lives have the ultimate purpose of our best.

Our first reaction to this idea of integration might be to resist it, or think we don’t need to deal with it, Jesus is Lord of my life, thank you very much. But this is where it gets a little tricky. Webster defines integration as: coordination of mental processes into a normal effective personality or with the individual’s environment. If we add to that the spiritual processes, then we begin to see the challenge to allow the “who” of who God is to be what coordinates all of the part of our personality, and environment. You see? Love the Lord with ALL… integrate His love, His ways, His Grace, His Mercy… ALL of who He is into ALL of who we are. You see, God is totally and fully integrated in Himself. We are created in His image. He made us to be wholly integrated. The effects of sin have chopped us into separate pieces. A part of His redemptive purpose is to make us once again whole and integrated.

How is it with you? Are you in the process of allowing God to be integrated into every area of  your life? Take some time to ask Him to show you where there is still fragmentation. He will delight to show you if you are sincere in asking. His will is for you to be wholly integrated and be able to love Him with ALL your heart, ALL your soul, and ALL  your mind.

…till next time…

Share this

Loving God – It All Starts Here


Loving God – It all Starts Here

Bring up the subject of God, and loving God, even in the Church, and you can come across all sorts of differing reactions. I have had people tell me that they struggle to love God, or understand His love for them. Some people struggle with talking of having any kind of intimacy with God. Perhaps it is hard to break through the stereotypes that attach themselves to us from our past relationships or out past religious experiences. Perhaps we cannot get past thinking of God as a theological concept, and so intimacy with God is not even a consideration for us. Our minds and our emotions create great filters through which we “filter” our relationship with God.

Yet, loving God supremely is what Jesus called the “First and Great Commandment.”  Taken from Deuteronomy 6:4-6, Israel, remember this! The LORD—and the LORD alone—is our God.  Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.

He repeats this command in Matthew 22:38 in response to the question, Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? In this Old Testament and New Testament reinforcement, Jesus says to us that our love for the Lord must be primary, and comprehensive

 All Your Heart…

We must love Him with all of our heart – all of our emotions, all of our motivations, all of our affections, all of our allegiances. Whatever comes first in any area of our hearts keeps us from loving the Lord with ALL our hearts. We are to overcome every and all blockages or misconceptions in order to love Him with ALL our hearts. That seems like a pretty tall order!

 All Your Soul…

But in addition, we must love Him with all our soul.  That means that our love for Him trumps all of our neediness, our desires for comfort, all our inclinations for ease and for the pleasures of self and the flesh. He is to be at the very top of our “life hungers,” and our love for Him is to be the center of our life’s security. As David, we are to hunger and thirst for him as we would hunger and thirst for food and water in a dry and weary land (Ps. 63).

 All Your Mind…

But we must also love Him with all our mind. Our thoughts, our aspirations, our contemplations, our meditations are all to be centered and rooted in our love for Him. Our thoughts are to be filled with love for Him that infects all of our decisions, and reactions to lives circumstances.

Now, if the Lord put this first thing before Israel at the very beginning of their “relationship” together, and if Jesus said that this is the first and great commandment, that would seem to indicate that God desires for us to understand that this is important to Him, our love for Him. Not because He is selfish for people to love Him, or lonely and needs affirmation. Of course not. He is God, He is infinite, perfect and complete in Himself. He needs nothing. He knows that for us to be complete, He must take first place in all these areas of our lives. Not because we grudgingly obey a law, as stopping for an inconvenient stop light. He made us for relationship, and for relationship with Him. We will talk at a later time about how to fall more in love with Him, but for now, He knows that we will  only be complete as He made us to be if our first and primary love is for Him.

Let me ask a question of all of us… Have we spent some time lately truly and honestly assessing whether our love for God has that kind of priority in our lives? I mean, not just our lip service, but is it reflected out in the way we live our lives, what we long after, what we think about, the decisions we make?


Take some time this week to purposefully set aside time to ask the Lord to help you answer this question:  “Lord, as you see my life, am I loving you with all my heart and soul and mind?” Allow Him to tell you how He sees your love for Him. And if there are some things He gently reveals to you that could be changed, write them down, and ask Him to show you how to change them.


Loving the Lord with ALL our heart, and soul, and mind, is not optional, it is not up for a vote to see where on the list it should be. By God’s repeated insistence, it needs to be first in our lives. Let’s start here in our quest for transforming revival.



Share this