I learned something today, something I’ve been asking God to show me for probably the last 15 years or so almost every day. That is, how to love the Lord my God with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength and to love my neighbor as myself. (Luke 10:27) I never realized how entwined the two of them are.
Today I just happened to click on a link at Ann Voscamp’s blog, A Holy Experience, under favorite posts. I don’t believe for a moment it was a coincidence I clicked that particular post. The title of it was The One Command That Could Resurrect the Church, Our Hurting Places and The Sisterhood of Women. I had tears streaming down my face as I read this beautiful article on the body of Christ. I finally grasped what Jesus was saying in His greatest commandment.
When Jesus says we are to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength it has always left me with questions. How Lord? Please show me, I would beg sometimes during my prayer time.
After reading this post I understand how much better. When He says to love him with all of my strength, it means to expend my energy showing His love to others. It may mean holding my tongue instead saying something harmful, taking the stress off of someone by cleaning their house or taking a meal to someone who’s down and out. All of this takes strength. We need to do what we can to keep our bodies strong for the tasks God has for us.
When He says to love Him with all of my heart, it means opening myself up to feeling the pain of others. It’s so easy to turn away when faced with the horrors of this world, asking myself what’s the point in caring too much? After all, how can one person make a difference? But God calls us to do something anyway. Ask Him what He wants to break your heart for today.
When He says to love Him with all of my mind, He’s asking me to keep my thoughts on the things that please Him. Not selfishness, pride or how to get ahead in my career. Our thoughts should be focused on Him and His will for us. Just as Philippians 4:8 says, Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things. When we keep our mind on righteous things, we are exemplifying the mind of Christ.
The next one is the most difficult. I had to look up the original meaning of the word soulin Strong’s Concordance. I was disappointed at the definition; life. I couldn’t really get my mind around that as it pertains to this scripture, so I looked it up in the Bible. The passage I kept being led to was the one about the rich, young ruler. The young man asked Jesus how to be saved. Jesus asked him if he’d followed all of the commands and the man said he had. Then Jesus told him to go and sell all of his possessions and he would be saved. This caused the rich man to turn and walk away. He couldn’t give that much to follow Christ.
As I prayed over this scripture, asking God to clarify, He gave me the answer. The only thing that lasts eternally is my soul and the eternal things I’m devoted to in my lifetime. If I devote it to anything other than God and His righteous works, I’m not loving Him with all of my soul. That one seems to be the hardest of all. What I value and invest in must line up with what God values and invests in if I’m to love Him with all of my soul. Everything else will be burned away.
And the last one is to love my neighbor as myself. It hit me a few years ago that if I don’t love myself, how in the world could I love others? Our culture is so counter-intuitive, saying we should focus only on ourselves one moment and then berating us the next because we don’t have the perfect body, aren’t smart enough or make enough money to matter. We must love ourselves in a way that shows we find our identity in Christ, not our dress size, before we can love others well.
On this Easter weekend, I hope we will take the time to contemplate the beauty of Christ’s love for us in dying a sinner’s death. In light of that, the greatest commandment doesn’t seem as difficult.
How is God revealing Himself to you lately?
I encourage you to click on the link below to visit Ann Voscamps blog. I believe it will give everyone who reads it great insight into the reason God calls us His Body.