In Matthew 22:38 Jesus himself elaborates, telling, "This is the first and greatest commandment". Those are the words of Jesus, yet we struggle to apply them to our lives.
I cant help but admit that I do.
So without pointing any fingers, here is the message of my post, and with it, my challenge to grow in grace and not in the ways of this world.
"Love the Lord your God..."
"There is no greater evidence of the inability of man to obey God’s law than this one commandment. No human being with a fallen nature can possibly love God with all our heart, soul and strength 24 hours a day. It’s humanly impossible." (2)
It can be confusing that we as humans are told that we should show our love to out perfect God, our Father, Creator.... confusing because he has everything he needs at his finger tips and we are far from perfect. What, we say, could we give him? Yet these are the ways of how we are to show our gratitude for all He is, was, and forever will be:
1. "...with all your heart..."
Our heart is enclosed at our very core, as should our faith come from. Another viewpoint is that with a "new heart" as one born again, we have entered from spiritual death to spiritual life. The heart gives us life and without it, we are nothing.
To love with all our hearts, we need to be true believers from our very core. We, essentially, need to keep it nurtured thru study and obedience of written Word of God, and serving Him accordingly. Loving him with our life.
2. "...and with all your soul..."
The soul refers to our characteristics as living, breathing, thinking people. You could say that the heart gives life, but the soul is what lives.
In the Bible, soul is used to regard feelings, emotions, attitudes and will of a person. Things that are controllable; they are choices. We need to show our love with the actions we make of our personal beings. We are to love by personally following God's commandments, in doing what is right.
Also, with feelings, we are to serve God completely and willingly, and not only in part. We are to love God with self control of our souls.
3. "...and with all your mind..."
Our mind is also mentioned: Our ability to exercising the mind, to think through. Some of the words, specifically mentioned in scripture mean "A putting together, to figure out, intelligence" or similarly " to consider and think upon."
With our intellect, we are to carefully analyze our choices, our motives, etc and plan things in a though out way that will please God. Furthermore, we are to "scan" our thoughts that they are moral, pure, honest, and right just as we are to look at what we put into our minds and what comes from it.
We love in worship with our souls, praise like, and then, we are to love God “with all our mind” by aligning our views, conclusions, and decisions with God's written Word in all situations. In this way, we are to show love with care.
4. "...and with all your strength..."
These things, this following of God, can consist of relatively simple practices, in most situations, except for the word that three letter word: "all". "All" means that we can not give quarter effort, go half way, or decide that 75% passes. No, we are to be set apart, nonconforming and this are not to be Lukewarm.
We are to use our bodies and our energy for the Glory of God. We are to have outward expression of what is going on inside, as the Bible says that faith without action is dead. (We can not live in sin, we can not walk the lethal way of our old heart, as members of the born again family.)
With our strength in speech as well (but that is another post) and with our actions and with our ability. The might we have, should go to God, that we should love him with ultimate expression, with"the full energy of your heart—what is most important to you, your emotions, will and reasoning ability; coupled with all your knowledge, wisdom, talents and skills specifically focused to carry something out" (1)
Other explanation says how we "cannot love someone we don’t know, so knowing Him should be our first priority. Those who pursue God and His righteousness, who take seriously the command to love Him above all else, are those who are consumed with the things of God. They are eager to study God’s Word, eager to pray, eager to obey and honor God in all things, and eager to share Jesus Christ with others." (2)
I'll close with the whole of the Matthew 22 passage I mentioned above; for faith without action, without change, and without love is ....something we set our goals above":
34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
*Love of God is not salvation, but a lifelong journey in mere correlation; in our failure of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, we see the need for our Savior. Also, note: I point no fingers, except possibly at myself. Lets grow together, Growing in Grace.
Ive supported bits and pieces of this post as with links 1 2 and 3.