What is the difference between ‘hearing God’s word and doing it’ and ‘loving the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength?’
A musician tells me that you cannot play a piece from the heart by just reading it off the music. You have to work on the piece, memorising it and practicing it until it goes into the heart. Then when you play, what has been worked into the heart comes out from the heart. There are similarities in the life of faith and love.
Peter* tells us of the development of faith. It starts with world tumbling discoveries as we ‘add to faith goodness, and to goodness knowledge.’ Taking what Christ teaches us and choosing to live that way in faith. Following that, what is known is worked into our inner being as we are tested and tried: ‘and to knowledge self-control, and to self-control perseverance, and to perseverance godliness.’ This is the shift from the early discoveries about right and wrong to the development of godly character. Early bright eyed faith is tested with difficult choices. Faith takes on a whole new meaning. The final shift is even deeper. ‘and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.’ Here, God’s word and life have been worked into our hearts through living what we are reading, memorising and meditating on; our understanding of what God says is tempered by seeing how He practically works in our lives. When we live this God life it sings with a beauty that is amazing.
*2 Peter 1:5-7