Hello everyone! I hope you all are having a great week so far! In X-session we have been talking a lot about love, what is it, how does God love us, how are we supposed to love, stuff like that, and I wanted to share a little bit along those lines about what it means to love God.
Probably most of you have at least heard, in some form or fashion, Mark 12:30. In case you haven’t, or you just need a refresher on what it says, here you go:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”
This is a familiar verse, and we hear its message a lot in church, in teachings and in songs, but as is so often the case with things that are familiar, I fear that we may tend to gloss over it thinking “I know this verse” or “I’ve already heard that.” So don’t gloss over this blog, pay attention, and see what you can learn from Jesus about how to love Him!
There are 4 things in this verse that we are told to love God with: Heart, Soul, Mind, Strength.
Heart: The heart, especially in today’s culture, represents the feelings and emotions, and we are meant to love God with our emotions. We love other people in our lives, parents, siblings, husbands/wives, boyfriends/girlfriends, etc… with emotion and feeling, it’s one of the defining characteristics of love, you feel for a person, you care for them, you have strong emotions for them, and God is the model of love that we should follow. If you get “warm fuzzy” feelings when you see the person you love, how much more should we be overwhelmed with emotional love when we are in God’s presence, which, by the way, is all the time! We should be gushing with our love for God, LOVE him with ALL your HEART!
Soul: When Jesus tells us to love God with all our soul, this is similar to our heart, but I distinguish it in this way. I see our soul as essentially “who we are.” When Jesus says to love the Lord your God with … all your soul, the idea here is that everything that we are, our totality, should be love for God. When people look at us, when God looks at us, we should not be defined by what we do, where we live, our family, our friends, our habits, our hobbies, our likes, our dislikes, or anything else. We should be defined by our love for God above all else. It should ooze out of us and overtake every aspect of our lives, “whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
To really love God with all your Soul also means that you have to completely surrender your life to Him. When Jesus says to love the “Lord,” He is identifying God as the one who does and should have absolute and total control over your life. To love the Lord with all your soul is to surrender your life, both initially by accepting His sacrifice for you, and continually by making a commitment to daily “take up their cross and follow me (God).” Let God be that consuming fire in your life!
Mind: The mind represents several things, intelligence, knowledge, logic, thoughts. As Christian, we are not called to be ignorant. Rather we are told to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” This is what Apologetics and the upcoming S.W.A.T. Seminar are all about, loving God with our minds, our knowledge and intellect and ability to learn and use logic. God gave us all of these are we are meant to use them to love Him.
Loving God with your mind also refers to your daily thoughts. We all think thoughts, all day, everyday, but how often are those thoughts glorifying to God? Hopefully, the answer is most of, if not all of the time. In 2 Corinthians 10:5 Paul says, “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ,”and we are told to only think about those things that are pure, lovely, etc… So to love God with your mind is to surrender your thoughts to Him. Even though our thoughts are often private, God still knows what we are thinking, and we should show our love for Him in that, even when no one else knows.
Strength: To love God with all your strength implies a couple of things. Strength implies conditioning, working out, commitment, endurance, the ability to fight and defend. This is what I think of when Jesus says to love Him with all your strength. Like Adam wrote about a few weeks back, it is easy to fall into being a “Comfortable Christian,” but to be a strength Christian, it takes some work. Loving God with all your strength means that you build up endurance and perseverance to love Him even when things are hard. It means you get up early in the morning to spend that time with Him. It means you but your faith in Him even when it feels like life is falling down around you. It also means that you are willing to fight, and die, for your Him, because you love him that fiercely. It means you don’t back down or shy away from friends, family, classmates, coworkers, strangers, etc… who criticize you for your love for God. You stay true and loyal no matter what!
So there you go, sorry this one was so long, but I think it’s important. There is so much packed into this one small verse, but the gist of it boils down to this:
LOVE the Lord (He has complete control over you, and you have willingly surrendered to Him) your God (it is a personal relationship, not some abstract deity) with ALL (not holding anything back) your HEART (emotions, feelings), SOUL (everything that you are, God is a consuming fire), MIND (intelligence, knowledge, thoughts), and STRENGTH (endurance, conditioning, fight for your faith) So go out and LOVE Christ today!