Eternal Perspectives by Sally Bair
Heart, soul, mind, strength
When I watch a deer or bear interact with its young, I know it’s putting everything possible into the situation. It may be showing affection or teaching them how to get food or how to obey.
When we interact with our loved ones, we too put everything into the encounter. We want to show them how much we care, how much we want the best for them. As the popular saying goes, we “put our whole heart and soul” into them.
God wants that type of relationship with us. When one of the religious leaders asked Jesus which commandment was the first, Jesus replied, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)
What does it mean to love God with all our heart, the core of our very being? It means we love Him from the depths of our being, more than our life. This is a tall order. But when we are upright and true-hearted rather than divided in our affections, our relationship with God will not suffer.
Our soul is our emotional nature. We love God with our whole soul when we love with warmth and feelings of closeness. We cry with those who hurt, we laugh with those who are happy.
How can we love God with our mind—our intellectual nature? By interacting with Him in prayer, study and meditation, we show Him how much we love Him.
Is it possible to love God with all our strength? Not muscle strength but strength of character, the willingness to do what He asks and be who He wants us to be.
When we love Him intensely, to the utmost degree with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength, we prove our love for Him. Then He makes it possible for us to love others—the second greatest command—in the same way.
Lord, thank You for loving us so much that You sent Your Son, Jesus to die for us. Cause us to put everything possible into our love for You so we can love others in the same way, as You have commanded. In Jesus’ name, amen.