“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40 (NKJV)
What does it mean to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul and mind? Does loving God with all my heart, soul and mind mean….
I can be undisciplined in my life because I say “I love God”?,
I can be unconcerned about the mission God has given us because I say “I love God”?
I can be disconnected from God’s church because I say “I love God”?
Let’s take a minute, break this verse down, and see what it means to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind.
The first thing we are told is that we are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts. In Scripture, the heart is considered to be the control center of our lives. Where our culture sees the heart as the seat of the emotions, the Biblical world saw the heart as the seat of the will. That’s why we are told to guard our hearts because out of it spring the issues of life (Prov 4:23). Biblically, the surest way to know what our hearts are like is to see what our lives are like. Jesus taught that what comes out of the mouth is merely the overflow of our hearts (Matt 12:35). At the same time, the actions of our lives demonstrate what is in our hearts (Mk 7:20-23). Your words, attitudes and actions day in and day out reveal what is in your heart.
From this, we can see that loving God with all our hearts is much more than having an emotional feeling about God. It would certainly include this, but it is far more than this. Listen to how commentator Adam Clarke defined loving God with all our hearts. “He loves God with all his heart, who loves nothing in comparison of him, and nothing but in reference to him:—who is ready to give up, do, or suffer any thing in order to please and glorify him:—who has in his heart neither love nor hatred, hope nor fear, inclination, nor aversion, desire, nor delight, but as they relate to God, and are regulated by him.
Secondly, we are to love the Lord our God with all our souls. The soul was seen as the seat of our life. It is our essence or being. It is all that we are. Our soul is our life, our breath, our consciousness, our entire being. Listen to how Clarke defined loving God with all our souls. “He loves God with all his soul, or rather, with all his life, who is ready to give up life for his sake—to endure all sorts of torments, and to be deprived of all kinds of comforts, rather than dishonor God:—who employs life with all its comforts, and conveniences, to glorify God in, by, and through all:—to whom life and death are nothing, but as they come from and lead to God, From this Divine principle sprang the blood of the martyrs, which became the seed of the Church. They overcame through the blood of the Lamb, and loved not their lives unto the death. See Revelation 12:11.
Lastly, we see that we are to love the Lord our God with all our minds. The mind is the seat of reasoning and intellect. The way we think and the way we view the world around us is determined by our minds. God has given us the ability to think, to reason and to understand. We are to love God with our minds and demonstrate this in the way we think, the way we reason and the way we understand the world around us.
Listen to how Clarke defined loving God with all our minds. “He loves God with all his mind who applies himself only to know God, and his holy will:—who receives with submission, gratitude, and pleasure, the sacred truths which God has revealed to man…In a word, he who sees God in all things—thinks of him at all times—having his mind continually fixed upon God, acknowledging him in all his ways—who begins, continues, and ends all his thoughts, words, and works, to the glory of his name…”
Seeing loving God with all our heart, soul and mind in this fashion certainly doesn’t seem to leave much room for living how I want as long as I mouth the words, “I love God” does it? If we think about what heart, soul, and mind are, we realize that this encompasses all of our life. It is everything from our motivation, to our personality, to our thoughts and actions. It is so much more than mere words.
Since loving God with all our heart, soul and mind means loving Him with more than mere words, then demonstrating this kind of love for God cannot be done with mere words. Our love for God must be demonstrated in our lives. Tomorrow we will look at some ways we demonstrate our love for God.
Let me leave you with these questions. Is your love for God demonstrated through your life or your words? If you say life, then what actions of your life demonstrate your love for God?