To Love God With “All Your Heart” is NOT Enough!
Loving God with all of your heart, soul, mind AND strength. Then to love your neighbor as yourself. To "love" God is a demonstration not with just your "heart" only, but requires us to love Him with "all of your heart, soul, mind AND strength. (Then to) Love our neighbor as our self." The Commandment to Love has FIVE (5) ways to be fully executed before it is fulfilled.
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Love the Lord Your God...
To love the Lord our God with “all our heart” is NOT enough to fully please Him in our daily walk. It takes much more than that. It actually takes loving God five (5) different ways to fully please Him and to fulfill His calling upon our life.
Let’s step through the five ways that are given to us by the Lord Jesus Himself in Mark 12:30-31 (that He combined together and quoted from Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18).
And you shall love the Lord your God:
- with all your heart,
- with all your soul,
- with all you mind,
- with all your strength, …
- and … love your neighbor as yourself.
With All Your Heart
What does it meant to “love God with all your heart” as being distinguished from the other parts and functions of our make-up?
The Hebrew word for “heart” is lebab, which means: To be enclosed—as the interior or center, hence, the heart. In the Greek, the word is kardia. It means: The seat in the center of man’s inward life—the place of human depravity or the sphere of divine influence. Both meanings point to that which gives man “life”: The depraved nature of spiritual death—which by nature is our life. Or, spiritual life which enters a person and replaces spiritual death when they accept and confess Jesus as their payment for sin and believe that He was raised from to dead to give us His new life.
Nurturing this “spiritual life” within us is essential for a fulfilling and prosperous life. It can only blossom through study and obedience of written Word of God, and, by obedience-to and fellowship-with the Word of God Himself. Our growth in God happens no other way. This in turn is our part in serving God with this new life that He has placed within us: To “love the Lord our God with all….”
With All Your Soul
The Hebrew word for “soul” is nephesh. It means: A breathing creature—whether a person, animal or creature of the sea. The Greek word equivalent is psuche, in which we get our prefix-word, psycho, for words like: psychology, Psuche means: Breath—voluntarily but gently (basically, being alive). The “soul” of a man always refers to the”lower element” of man in relationship to the “heart,” the “higher element.”
Psuche is used in a very wide sense throughout the Bible regarding mans many feelings: His emotions, attitudes and will. Hence, loving God “with all your soul” is different from ‘loving God with all your heart” in that it speaks of the “emotions, attitudes and will” of a person.
1Timothy 6:11 speaks about “godliness” —being devoted to God. It is saying to CHOOSE to love God—an attitude of self-devotion to love. It is an exercising of the will (part of the soul) to love God in all situations of life. In other words, choose to do what is right and do it with the right attitude.
The feelings (of the emotional part) of a person’s make-up will get out of control without a direct use of the will. Many stay in anger, bitterness, resentment, self-pity, hatred, fear, being covetous and such like because instead of loving God “with ALL their soul,” they have aligned their soul against God. This is confirmed by what 1Corinthians 13 says about what love is: Willfully turning your emotions and attitudes by an act of your will.
Instead of retaliating and showing the person who hurt you “how it feels,” you choose to be kind in the midst of showing them what they have done wrong and how they have hurt you. Instead of giving up hope in a situation, you choose to hope and seek a way through regardless of whether or not it turns out exactly as you want. Instead of choosing to be angry, you choose patience—long suffering and endurance. THIS, is loving God “with all your soul.”
With All Your Mind
Though Jesus states in Mark 12:30 to love God “with all your mind,” the word for “mind” is not mentioned in Deuteronomy 6:4 from where He quoted the Scripture. In fact, when the Scribe quoted that same Scripture back to Jesus in verse 33, He used a different word for “mind” than the one Jesus did. Nevertheless, Jesus accepted it as valid because of its similarities.
The Greek word Jesus used for “mind” is dianoia, which means: Deep though, exercising the mind, to think through. The word the Scribe used for mind is sunesis, which means: A putting together, to figure out, intelligence. The Hebrew equivalent (taken from Jeremiah 31:33 translated in the KJV as “inward parts”) is qereb, which means: to approach or bring near—hence, to consider and think upon.
Therefore, our mind is our intellect—the place where we analyze, figure-out and plan things; the place where knowledge and understanding are analyzed and manipulated to bring about a conclusion or decision.
Loving God “with all our mind” means:
- That EVERYTHING we put in or allow in our minds is right, true and moral.
- That we align our conclusions and decisions based upon the commandments of God and the written Word of God in all situations.
With All Your Strength
Loving God “with all your strength” speaks of the “ultimate expression” of our heart, soul and mind being released together through our bodily functions. It is the outward expression of what is going on within ourselves to the outside world through our sight, speech and physical actions.
The Hebrew word for “strength” is meod, which means: Vehemently (implying whole—with everything you got). Its root meaning is: A poker to rake, move quickly and turn-over hot coals. Basically, it means to reach into a hot situation and turn things around or aligning them to be right.
The equivalent Greek word is ischus, which means: Forcefulness, ability, might. Loving God with all your “strength” is not just having a strong determination to do something. Rather, it is a combined focused forceful excursion of the activities of the heart, mind, soul and will expressed through the physical body toward something or someone until the goal is carried-out or the situation is turned to your favor. In other words, it is 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.
We can see a picture forming here: God does not want us to love Him with just “parts” of our being, but rather, will ALL our being—every single moment of every single day. His Great Commandment for us “to love,” is a display of His own eminent love to us in order that we will not be corrupted, nor will we corrupt others.
And Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
All that goes on within our heart, soul and mind and exerted out of the body as strength is then focused towards God, ourselves, and others—our neighbors. At times we have used this “strength” for good, and at other times, for bad.
To “love your neighbor as yourself” means: Someone who is near you—your sphere of influence. Jesus gave the example of being a “good Samaritan” as assisting someone we may meet on the road of everyday life who needs help. If we would help ourselves out of situations that we find ourselves in, then we should help them also. These are our neighbors.
When ALL OF THESE (loving God with all our hearts, soul, mind, strength and loving your neighbor as yourself) are matured, THEN and ONLY THEN do we have a vibrant personal relationship with God and the Scripture in John 14:21 becomes a reality.
He who has My commandments AND KEEPS THEM, IT IS HE WHO LOVES ME. And HE WHO LOVES ME WILL BE LOVED BY MY FATHER, and I WILL LOVE HIM AND MANIFEST MYSELF TO HIM.”
God grades us on “minimum standards.” This is the MINIMUM to what God calls us to do—with a reality that there is no greater standard, either.
Let’s look at two examples of using “all your strength”: One used in an evil want and one used on a good way.
Used For Evil :
The first example is of Cain who killed His brother Able out of jealousy (see Genesis 4:1-10). Cain’s total focus consumed his heart (his deepest desires), emotions, his will, his thinking and ultimately he used his skills and talents to devise a plan to lure Able to a place and murdered him.
Used For Good:
On the other hand, we see mankind in the very position of Cain—a heart full of sin—and a God who is so full of love that He devised a plan and executed it with all His energy of heart, soul, mind, body and creative ability to free man from his bondages. This is told about in Ephesians 1:19-20:
What is the exceeding greatness of His power TOWARD US WHO BELIEVE, according to the working of His MIGHTY power WHICH HE WORKED IN CHRIST WHEN HE RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD AND SEATED HIM AT HIS RIGHT HAND in the heavenly places.
This is that same “mighty” (strength) power God exerts toward and in us when He raises us from the dead—gives us “life” —His life, through the new birth when we are born again.
All these areas influence each other. For example, when the mind (intellect) is influenced by the unjust feelings of the soul, it can be persuaded to change its thinking (analytical) process and instead of deciding on a favorable action or response, it will decide on an unfavorable one.
This is why it is of utmost importance to have EVERY area or our being in line, trained and sanctified (separated from evil) by the Word of God and His Spirit. Otherwise, we are not walking in love toward God. All this is summed up by the Lord Himself—that if we want a manifested-love-relationship with Him and the Father—for Him to “love” us in what love is revealed to be, then we MUST keep His commandments.
Jesus said, “He who has my commandments AND KEEPS THEM, IT IS HE WHO LOVES ME. And he who loves me WILL BE LOVED BY MY FATHER (the fulfillment of the condition of us loving Him), and I will love him and manifest myself to him (a manifested-love-relationship).
The Law and the Prophets
It is written in Matthew 22:40:
On these two commandments (two parts) hang ALL THE LAW and THE PROPHETS.
The commandment to “love” was given by God in the Old and New Testaments. Therefore, ALL the promises and conditions of blessings of the Old AND the New Testaments hang on that single great commandment. Therefore, we MUST establish within which category the New Testament falls into: The Law, or The Prophets?
The New Testament (along with much of the Old Testament) is under “the Prophets.” It is not under the Law—the specific part of the Law that deals with sacrificing animals to atone for sin—however, it is still connected to the Law of Sacrifice that we walk under (the cross) to bring “self” to death. Therefore, the New Testament must be under “the Prophets.” There is no other group.
Jesus, Paul, Peter, John, Daniel, Jeremiah and many others were all prophets who have spoken or written Scripture. If the New Testament is NOT under the category of the Prophets, then we are not under the commandment to “love one another as I (Jesus) have loved you.” BOTH GROUPS—The Law and The Prophets—hang on the “love” commandment. Hence, the New Testament IS under the Prophets.
All through Scripture (which is both Old and New Testaments), God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit commanded His people to walk in love. When the Son of God came to earth, He just “freshened-up and revised” the “love” commandment by an example of Him walking in love throughout His life:
A new (a revision of what is already written, freshened-up) commandment I give to you, that you love one another; AS I HAVE LOVED YOU, that you also love one another. By THIS, all will know that you ARE my disciples.
All Rights Reserved, © Copyright 2009 by Stephen Gola
(All Scriptures taken from the King James Version Bible or the New King James version.)
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