The artichoke was something I avoided as a child. I actually did not mind peeling off the leaves and scraping them off with my teeth. But when I arrived at that hairy center, I was repulsed and would not cut out and eat the artichoke heart. My siblings were thrilled and would argue over who got to eat it! They were happy to eat it without all the work of peeling off the leaves.
Our verse for today is a commandment often repeated in the Old Testament. It is repeated in the New Testament as well. The Lord wants us to love Him with all our heart. He wants our entire being to respond to Him. Half measures do not mean so much. A divided heart does not have as much value to Him. He gives His all to us and the only possible response is to give our all to Him in return.
My problem is that I think I am giving Him my heart when perhaps I have only given Him a part. Being humbled and tested is the only way I can really know if I have given Him all my heart. The Lord led the Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years in order to know what was in their hearts (Deut. 8:2). My difficulties today serve the same purpose. Each problem peels off another outside leaf and the heart is more and more exposed. It is in the midst of suffering or loss that my heart is revealed. Will I only love Him when times are good? Do I only love Him when my desires are met?
Lord, may my heart be completely Yours today.