Aug29SunWith all my heart, soul, and strength August 29, 2021
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” Mark 12:30 ESV
I was reading this verse today and as I was contemplating it, the question came to me, what would that look like? To love God with all my heart? What does it mean to love with all my mind? With all my soul? How do you love God with all your strength?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart:
This I understand. What the heart loves and desires, it goes after. We all have at least one thing that we can say we are passionate about. For me, it’s words. I’m easily distracted by words, be it a book, a random article, a few scribbled sentences on a page, etc. Words capture my heart. For you, it’s probably something else. I know a guy whose passion is cars and trucks. He know the make, the model, the year, and whatever new improvements or invention that comes out. Get him to talk about cars and you can’t shut him up. For me, it’s a bit mind boggling. I didn’t know there was so much to know about cars and trucks! Yet, the truth of the matter is this: When we love someone or something we will talk about them, (sometimes nonstop); it just flows out of us.
What does this have to do with loving God with all my heart? Well, I just have to wonder what it would look like if we loved God with that kind of a passion? Where we come to the point where we just don’t shut up, because we’ve got to share all that He is, all He’s doing, and all of His wonders. Where He has so captured our hearts that our thoughts are never far from Him. Where we pursue to know Him more, and like David can say, this one thing I desire and crave, just to be with Him! “Here’s the one thing I crave from God, the one thing I seek above all else: I want the privilege of living with him every moment in his house, finding the sweet loveliness of his face, filled with awe, delighting in his glory and grace. I want to live my life so close to him that he takes pleasure in my every prayer.” Psalms 27:4 TPT. That right there, is what it would look like to love God with all your heart. That is passion.
Our heart is the center, or if you will the hub, from which all of the operations of our life flow from. Which is why the bible says that we are to guard our heart and protect it. Lest it grow hard towards God and deceives us. You could compare the heart to the horse in front of the carriage. Wherever the horse goes, the carriage (being your life) follows. So, what can I do, today, that will ignite the passion in my heart? What decisions can I make to insure my love for God keeps growing? Is there a habit I can form to keep the fire alive?
Love God with all your soul and all your mind.
The soul. It’s the breath, the life, the mind, the inner person. It’s your mind, your will, the seat of your emotions. The heart and soul are often intertwined in the Bible. But whereas the heart would be the horse in front of the carriage, I believe the soul to be the man sitting and guiding the horse. Or the brains behind the brawn. Have you ever heard someone comment, She has an old soul? They are really saying, she’s wise beyond her years and has a deep understanding of the world around her. We often associate wisdom with the soul.
To love God with all our soul and all our mind is to love with all the understanding. As we can see when we continue to read in Mark 12. And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
What is understanding? In Greek, it’s the word “synesis“ and has the meaning of a sending together, a junction, as of streams; intelligence discernment, insight. The intellect. The wisdom.
In Col. 1-9, Paul prays this: “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,”. Paul thought it so important to pray for knowledge and wisdom that he left us this prayer behind. (The whole prayer is quite awesome, I encourage you to read and pray it. It’s a favorite of mine).
Look at how much time and money we spend in education, in the pursuit of more knowledge. And sometimes it takes more than a couple years to gain the right amount of knowledge and wisdom to do a certain job. Yet, if it’s our passion, we do it. What’s more important, we are capable of doing whatever it takes to get that which we pursue. If it take time, we give it. If it takes finances, we either find it or go into debt. But we do it. And isn’t that amazing? That we are willing to sacrifice so much for knowledge and wisdom?
Let’s flip it to the other side. If Jesus commands us to love God with all our soul and with all our mind, what are we willing to sacrifice to make that happen? Am I in pursuit of knowing Him more? Am I in pursuit of the knowledge of His will? Do I ask after the wisdom of God and do I seek to gain more of His wisdom? It requires time to gain knowledge even in the spiritual. Am I willing to give it? If it costs me money, am I willing to spend it in order to gain more knowledge of Him? Loving God with all my mind sounds good when I’m just reading over the sentence, but when I take time to dig deeper I discover that it’s not that simple. It takes childlike faith, childlike trust, and submission to Gods authority. By these I mean letting go of “my” thoughts and putting priority and emphasis on Gods thoughts. Like a child, trusting in my Abba’s knowledge and seeking His will, to please Him. Like a child asking, what would my Father say and what is His wisdom on this? Then stepping out and doing it. If we can put so much into pursuing worldly knowledge, how much more should we be willing to sacrifice to pursue godly wisdom and character?
Proverbs 5:1 gives this advice: “My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding,” and again in proverbs 3:13, “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding,”. I encourage you to read Proverbs 2; it speaks on how God rewards those who are attentive to wisdom and seek understanding. And also proverbs 3 which tells us that wisdom is more precious than jewels and nothing we desire can compare to it. Oh, to have an undivided mind that loves the Lord and is full of His knowledge! That should be worth something to us! It should worth pursuing to us, no matter the cost!
Finally, love God with all your strength.
Do you know how often David in the psalms writes that God is his strength? He says, God is the strength of my heart, God equips me with strength for the battle, I love you Lord my strength, and my Lord you are the strength of my salvation. And these are just a few. Then we read this: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” Eph. 6:10 ESVi) That is the one that got to me.
I don’t presume to know what it means to love God with all my strength. I can’t quite grasp it. I just know a hint and that is this: I know after reading through the psalms that I have no strength except that from God. Any strength that I assume to have is His to begin with. I am strong in the Lord. IN the Lord, that is where I’m strong. Not apart from Him but only when I am IN Him. You might ask, why is that so important? Well, I think it’s when we finally come to the end of ourselves and there is nothing left, that we discover the beginning. It’s where He can finally begin. Where he can finally go to work because my selfishness is out of the way. Cause when I’m at my weakest, He is at His strongest in me. When I’m completely giving myself to His authority, coming under His will to doing His will, that is when I’m loving Him with all my strength. It’s when I acknowledge that He IS my strength; literally the fuel that keeps me going, and the wind in my sails that drives me. Without that, I can do nothing. That acknowledgment sets me free from trying to please him by my works and allows Him to freely go to work through me. If it’s possible, by Him working through me, I please him more than I ever did trying to please Him on my own. Yes, my greatest strength is this: His strength working in and through me.
Father God, we pray that you would touch our hearts today with the knowledge of Your will. Teach us what it means for each one of us, to love you as completely as Your word says we are to love You. Thank you that you meet us where we are at in our understanding and that You seek to fill us with more. Let us not become complacent when it comes to growing in love! I pray that it will be our highest pursuit and our one greatest desire. I also pray blessing over our hearts that we may know and understand Your will for us, that we may see You are our strength, our stronghold, and nothing shall ever separate us from Your love. Most of all, we pray this, that we will see Your love for us. And that no matter how much we love on You, it will never compare to the love that You pour out on us! It’s that love and the truth of it in our hearts that will change not only our lives, but the world around us. Great is your faithfulness! Great is your faithfulness to us and your loving kindness is without end, we praise You in Jesus name, Amen!