I knew we would encounter these verses sometime during our Bible discovery challenge! While I’m not a fan of preaching about “rules” for Christians to follow, this counsel spells it out clearly and is repeated in other places within the Bible for added emphasis.
It’s pretty much a no brainer that if we are believers, we love God. But do we love him with our whole heart, soul, and strength? Are we even capable of loving him that much? Don’t we have our spouses, families, and friends whom we also love? How do we give God our “whole” heart?
It might help us to remember that God loved us first. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love each other because he loved us first.” Keep in mind, too, that love is not a “feeling” but rather actions or commitment. God infused his love into us, and he asks that we love him in return. As we enjoy our relationship with God, basking in his love, we have plenty to share with others.
We do need to take care not to fall into the trappings of the world and begin to take God for granted. We can often get distracted and love other things…like stuff, experiences, success, etc. I have seen lives ruined when priorities got out of alignment with God’s perfect plan for our lives. When we love God with our “whole” self, we are less likely to be victims of the lies of the world.
These great words from God are given by Moses as he was chosen to be the “law giver.” This isn’t meant to be a once and done act of devotion either. We are told to “commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”
The fact that we see this “law” repeated in the New Testament by three of the Gospel writers should tell us it’s meant to be relevant for all time. Jesus confirms it for us. In Matthew 22:37, Jesus says, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.”
In Luke 10:25-28, Jesus refers to the Law of Moses when asked by a religious leader how to have eternal life. Jesus’ teaching in Mark 12:29-31 is similar as it points to the greatest commandment of all. We can’t deny the importance of listening to this Word from God.
Where is your heart, soul, and mind? That is, what occupies your thoughts and actions? Romans 8:6 says, “So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” God has given us his Spirit, his power to tap into. We don’t have to feel abandoned or weak.
Take some time today to assess your loyalties. How can you do a better job of loving God with your whole heart, soul, and mind?
Let’s pray. Father, I love you so much. It’s hard for me to even put into words the depth of that love. Yet I know I can love you even more. Help me to resist the temptations of the world so I can keep focused on loving you with all that I am. In Jesus’ name. Amen.