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Love God with all our heart, soul and mind

part 2 - the practical application               

 

So what have we looked at so far? We have seen that the Pharisees were trying to trick Jesus into saying something which might alienate him from the people, yet he overcame. He told them and us that loving God with all our heart, soul and mind is the first and most important command in all the Bible.

What does it mean?

So what does it mean to love God with all your heart, all your soul and all your might? How do we apply this command in our life? We are fortunate in that, upon hearing this commandment, a scribe told Jesus what he understood this commandment meant:

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 neighbour 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.”     Mark  Ch.12: 32-34

This answer by the scribe showed an individual mind with true insight.

100% of our love

Let me tell you a story…

The Matterhorn Mountain

A number of years ago a man went to Switzerland to see the famed mountain called the Matterhorn. When he got there he was very disappointed as even though there were blue skies the mountain itself was covered in clouds. So all he could see were nice green meadows in the foreground, a clear blue sky in the background and a big patch of cloud in the middle. He wasn't getting the complete picture of beauty - he was only getting fifty percent of the picture. He felt disappointed that his senses were not appreciating the whole picture of beauty. He stayed in that area for seven days as he was determined to get the complete picture. And it paid off, for on the seventh day those clouds rolled away revealing a thing of rugged beauty under those grey coverings. He got the full 100% picture of beauty - the green meadows in the foreground, the blue skies in the background and the majestic mountains inbetween.

And that's the same with our Heavenly Father - He wants to get the full picture from us. He doesn't want to see a picture of someone loving him to 50% of his ability with the dark clouds of the world covering the other 50% of his life. Nor does he want to see 80% of the persons love used in devotion to Him with the other 20% being covered by the dark clouds of this world.

We need to blow those clouds away, revealing a complete picture of beauty before Him. God wants to see a person whose garments are white as snow standing before Him in the beauty of Holiness.

We are to love God with all out heart. The heart spoken about in the command is the inner self of the man (woman). God operates on a man’s heart through the words contained in the Bible. So, the success of a man is dependent on how his inner self is affected by the message of God.

Elijah understood this and, as a result, he said:

Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.”   1 Kings 18:37

God’s message of love can turn the hearts of men around.

So when the first and greatest of all the commandments of God says that men and women must love Him with all their heart it is telling us that the total involvement of the inner man is crucial. Our love for God must be complete without any part of our inner self being hidden. David knew this when he said:

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;   Psalm 9:1

He realised that God will not accept a heart that divides its thanks and praise between God and man/other gods made of stone and wood. If our inner self (heart) devotes a portion of its praise and thanks to God but the remaining portion to the works of man, then we are not obeying the first and greatest commandment of God.

To offer meaningful praise, it is necessary for the Christian to be intimately familiar with the message of God contained in the Bible. This will help a Christian to love with 100% of his or her heart (and not just part of his heart).

In relation to this, Jesus said these words:

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.   

Matthew 5:8

It is the pure of heart (100% committed heart) who shall “see God”. For to “see God” is to know Him and to become like Him in our character. For example, a part of God’s character is willingness to forgive, so our character, must also have that willingness to forgive others.

So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”    Matthew 18:35

Only a heart in tune with its Creator can respond in this challenging way. Paul commends those who have this whole-hearted love of God and honest attempt at reflecting the glory of His character.

But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,    Romans 6:17

Love God with all your heart

We must use our heart to love God. The word heart might be used sometimes to express tenderness and emotional involvement: but it is more normally expressed as intellect like in Luke chapter five where it says:

"But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, what reason ye in your hearts?".     Luke 5:22

So when God asks the believer to love Him with all his heart, what he first and foremost wants is a full surrender of his intellectual powers.

Love God with all your soul

As well as using our heart (intellect) we must use our Soul to love God. The word Soul in both the original Hebrew [1] and Greek [2] texts, describes animal and emotional life as distinct from intellectual or rational life. So, in other words, it describes what a person feels rather that what he thinks. Therefore we read in Genesis of a man becoming a living soul.

We can get a similar idea in Paul’s letter to the Hebrews:

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Here again it is describing soul as what a person feels as opposed to what he thinks.

So when God says that we shall love Him with all our Soul it means for us to give him all our feelings or our emotional life. This is quite a logical request by God, for what use is love with all our intellect but with none of our emotions.

So we are to use all our heart and all our soul to love God so as to help create this beautiful picture of us before him.

What else do we use?

Love God with our entire mind

We are told to use our entire mind. We are to therefore think about nothing else but those things concerning God.

It is difficult to block the world out when it is around us constantly but we must do it by always looking at the world from the point of view of God. If we see something which we know God would disapprove of, then we must also disapprove of it.

Let us love our Lord God with our entire mind by blocking out the world and therefore keeping our mind spiritually pure.

So, we have seen that we must love God with all our heart, soul and mind, yet Mark talks about a fourth tool we can use to make ourselves ultimately beautiful in holiness before God.

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

Love God with all your strength

This last tool is strength.

To love God with all our might or strength is to give God use of all our intellectual, emotional and physical attributes. So in other words, in all ways that our powers can be exerted, wherever in life our footsteps take us, our Heavenly father wants to be there, motivating us in our deeds.

Summary

For the Christian to love is not optional part of the Christian life – where we choose to do it or not. To love is a command and it is essential to the true Christian. To love, is something which is shown through action.

and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 1 Thessalonians 3:12

So, in summary, as that man in Switzerland waited those seven days so that he could see the Matterhorn mountain and the surrounding countryside in completeness, so we must love God to 100 % of our abilities so that when God looks at us, He will see in all it's fullness, a complete picture of spiritual beauty.

If we do this, then we will not be far from the Kingdom of God as was the scribe talked about by Mark:

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.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

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.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions. Mark 12:30-34

Footnotes

[1] The Old Testament in the Bible was originally written in the Jewish Hebrew language.

[2] The New Testament in the Bible was originally written in the Greek language.

Let us pray, that we likewise, shall not be far from the Kingdom of God, if we love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, our entire mind and all our strength.

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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 March 2015