Love the Lord your God

God wants people who are fully committed to him and love him. Jesus underlines the extent of the commitment he wants in Luke:

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ – Luke 10:27

This verse is a paraphrase from the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) and is also called the Greatest Commandment in the Gospels. However, there are four areas described here with which we should love God, which I want to look at in more depth:

With all your heart…

Our heart means our emotions, will and deepest convictions show that we love God.From the heart ‘flow the springs of life’ (Proverbs 4:23), and without one’s will, desires, passions, affections, perceptions, and thoughts rightly aligned, we cannot truly love God.

With all your soul…

The soul in the old covenant included the heart but meant much more. Loving God with our soul means making godly choices, by devoting ourselves to his word and that we are to love God with our passions, hungers, perceptions, and thoughts. It also means

With all your strength…

Also called ‘might’ in Deuteronomy 6:5, it means using our abilities, talents, our hands and work to love God. Whilst we are not saved by good works, they are the inevitable result of our love for God because we recognise all he has done for us and we want to serve him. It also means serving our communities and later in this verse Jesus includes loving ‘your neighbor as yourself’. Jesus demonstrates how our love for others through serving is loving him: ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’ (Matthew 25:40).

With all your mind…

This means that we think clearly and truly about God so that we don’t have false ideas in our minds, otherwise we allow the enemy ways to get in and attack us. By guarding our mind from things that bring our attention away from God and being intentional about focusing on God, we learn to love him more.

When we commit ourselves to God he requires a total devotion of our whole being. The covenant love we’re called to must be wholehearted, life-encompassing, community impacting, exclusive commitment to our God.

 

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