God is Not looking for perfect people or actions. You are not a disappointment to God. God is simply looking for people who wholeheartedly serve him.
Over and over again in the Old Testament… God simply asks for a people who will wholeheartedly love and serve him. His heart was continually broken by his people only giving half -hearted devotion to him.
Wholeheartedness is what Jesus made emphasis of while he was here… It is still what God is after today!
Matt. 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matt. 22:37 Love the Lord you God with all your heart and Love your neighbor as yourself
So what does it mean to be wholehearted?
Websters Definition of WHOLEHEARTED
1 completely and sincerely devoted, determined, or enthusiastic
2 marked by complete earnest commitment : free from all reserve or hesitation
A few biblical examples of wholeheartedness:
These woman did not KNOW that their wholehearted obedience would be in the bible one day…in fact in their lifetime, they never knew the influence that ultimately they would have. Some were known in their generation… and some were simply hidden in time until someone around them passed on the story. Likely their own children.
Mary: mother of Jesus, believed the angel, willing to risk scandal-unwed mother to obey
Ruth: left everything she knew, wholeheartedly devoted herself to her mother-in-law after the death of both their husbands. in lineage of Jesus
Deborah: Defied status Quo, female prophet & leader- Let them to battle
Rahab: risked death saving the spies, only family saved in Jericho- Jesus’ lineage
Esther: Became queen, stood before king facing death to appeal the life of her people- rescued a nation. Hannah: Wholehearted prayer, wholehearted decisions, wholehearted offspring.
Let’s look another, lesser known woman from the bible…. The book of 2John was written to a woman!! a mother.
Scholars have discussed whether this is an actual woman who was a mother, or maybe the pastor of this church, others believe the “lady” refers to the church itself. Either way it is good a valid stuff… The word Lady is translated from the greek both ways.
Today we will be looking at her as a leader, an influencer in her community. I LOVE that there is a book written to a woman, a leader, a mother. I can totally relate.
Go with me to 2 John 1 NLT
1 This letter is from John, the elder.[a]
I am writing to the chosen lady and to her children,[b] whom I love in the truth—as does everyone else who knows the truth—
2 because the truth lives in us and will be with us forever.
3 Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ—the Son of the Father—will continue to be with us who live in truth and love.
Live in the Truth
4 How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded.
5 I am writing to remind you, dear friends,[c] that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning.
6 Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning…….
…….10 If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement.
11 Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work.
12 I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to do it with paper and ink. For I hope to visit you soon and talk with you face to face. Then our joy will be complete.
13 Greetings from the children of your sister,[f] chosen by God.
Summed Up: The elder is commending her for teaching her children to live in Truth and LOVE. and having a heart after God. Let’s look at what made her wholehearted:
5 defining factors about this woman:
1. CHOSEN – She knew she was chosen by God.
It is sooo easy to be frustrated, feeling invisible or feeling we are not doing the right thing. We don’t “feel” chosen by God at all. But can we just be reminded that confidence comes from God alone…
-God chose you!!!! John 15- Jesus says, “you didn’t choose me, but I have chosen you” – We can have God Confidence.
You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. 17This I command you, that you love one another.
Chosen: Greek translated to elect: picked out, selected, handpicked, chosen by God, rare, The best of it’s kind.
1 pet. 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of himcalled you out of darkness into his wonderful light”
-YOU are selected by God. THIS is how God sees you.
God knows your potential.
God sees the beauty in the rough: He restores what the enemy tried to steal and cover up.
San Francisco’s Painted Ladies
About 48,000 houses in the Victorian and Edwardian styles were built in San Francisco between 1849 and 1915 (with the change from Victorian to Edwardian occurring on the death of Queen Victoria in 1901), and many were painted in bright colors. red, yellow, chocolate, orange, yellow and brown…”
Many of the mansions of Nob Hill were destroyed by the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and….
Those that were saved were stripped of their color and During World War I and World War II, many of these houses were painted battleship gray with war-surplus Navy paint.
Another sixteen thousand were demolished, and many others had the Victorian decor stripped off or covered with tarpaper, brick, stucco, or aluminum siding.
In 1963, San Francisco artist got a vision and began to restore these houses…
Today you would never know that they had been through an earthquake, stripped of decoration and color, and many destroyed – they are an icon in our city and people go out of their way to look for them and take pictures of them.
The painted ladies of San Francisco always had the potential… but they had been destroyed and stripped of their beauty. A gray painted mask covered up their potential.
*****God sees our potential… and chose us just the way we are. He does not require us to be perfect, he is looking at our hearts… His heartbeat for us should compel us to take off our masks…. but get real with God and allow him to restore color once again to our hearts – restoring the pain of the wars and earthquakes in our lives. We are chosen and accepted just the way we are.
Wholeheartedly serving God looks like this: Seek first the Kingdom of God and being in right relationship with HIM and then all “these things” (our needs, cares) will be taken care of by God…He knows our dreams and our heart…
You have nothing to prove- His love for you is complete… his heart beats for you. He has chosen you to be his. HE is asking us to be wholehearted towards HIM in return.
2- TEACHABLE. She was open to instruction.
John is writing to this woman to commend her and also to instruct her… 1Pet. 5:5
5 You younger men, accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, serve each other in humility, for “God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble.”
It is so easy to try and do it all on our own. We make our plans, we tell others what to do… not the other way around – if we are not careful we can easily find ourselves not even needing God. That is a dangerous place to be. A great leader is ALWAYS first a great follower. A great leader never stops learning.
-BE OPEN to instruction –
-READ YOUR BIBLE :o) & Obey Word of God
-Listen to leaders – find a Godly mentor.
3- ALERT She guarded her house.
She was reminded to keep guarding her house …against anything that was not consistent with the truth of Jesus.
Prov. 4:23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life…. with all diligence, Guard your home, MOMS- guard your child’s heart for the truth of Jesus. Care an caution are needed when caring for these kids – Let nothing in your house that does goes against promoting Jesus and His reality in your lives.
We need to guard our own heart and mind first and then our actual household…. and then our sphere of influence.
-Guard against your toxic thought patterns.
-NOTICE when something is wrong – guard your heart, your eyes and help the children guard thier hearts. TV, WORDS SPOKEN.
-Don’t allow anything or any person to be in a place of influence that could potentially sway you or your children from the truth of Jesus.
4- DILIGENT .She was Diligent in Truth and LOVE & reproduced herself
In this day women were not respected. John did not have to give her this kind of respect and honor… HE even goes so far as to say that everyone around her that knew Jesus knew how honorable she was.
She was a woman of good character. She was diligent. She was known for LIVING in the truth – This was a filter for her life. She was genuine.
She knew Jesus as truth. She followed Jesus. . John 15 Jesus says.- “I am the way the truth and the Life.”
The truth she lived out was evident in the way she loved others and taught others.
She Taught others to be diligent in the truth and love of Jesus.
She was commended for her diligence in TEACHING the truth. Even her own kids were known for living in the truth. This is our goal. How do the people around us, closest to us know us, know Jesus, and live for Jesus? Are we diligent to Live in and to TEACH others to genuinely follow Jesus? wholehearted?
We look at the proverbs 31 woman and we get discouraged. – But notice…. this chapter wraps up the end of a the book about wisdom… This last chapter is not a checklist for women to try and live up to but simply the visible results of a wisdom in action.
Our Goal… diligently put wisdom in action and wholeheartedly serve God.
5. LOVE- She loved others.
Here is the way to love others: live in the TRUTH> wholeheartedly in Jesus, Let this be the filter of your life…. loving God with all your heart, mind and soul produces a genuine love from God for others.
As we pour out our love on God… he encourages us to pray for and bless others… this produces a God kind of love for others.
Loving even the unlovable….This is is what distinguishes us. LOVE for Jesus produces LOVE for others.
We see from this woman in 2 John that knowing the TRUTH of Jesus and living in His love produces a care and LOVE for others…. IN word, action, even in decisions. He commends her for LOVING others and teaching others to love.
She reproduced herself. Those around her loved God, lived in the truth of Jesus, taught others what they learned and were known for loving others… just like her.
We must allow our wholehearted devotion to God be a filter for us as we live, as we parent. We can BE the example of living in truth AND loving others.
So God is looking to restore our hearts back to his. He longs for us to love him wholeheartedly and share that love with others.