The following is a transcribed Video Q&A, so the text may not read like an edited article would. Scroll to the bottom to view this video in its entirety.
When we talk about loving the Lord with our heart, our soul, our mind, and our strength what we are really saying is that you love him with everything about yourself. You love him in every facet of your life. You love him in your mind. You love him in your thinking. You love him in the way you process things. You love him in your body. You love him physically. You make choices, physically, out of your love for him.
So, this phrase “with your body, soul, mind, strength” is used to describe the wholeness of your personhood. I think sometimes we are very compartmentalized people. We learn to relate to God with our hearts and we compartmentalize our spiritual lives to that. But what the Scripture is calling us to do is a holistic love that creeps into every facet of our life. We are holistic beings, we in turn love holistically.
What Does it Mean to Love God with All Our Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength?
We first need to know how God defines “love.” The Hebrew word is ahab and means to have affection for, desire, delight in, or be fond of. It implies an ardent inclination of the mind and a tenderness of affection, and denotes a strong emotional attachment for and a desire to be in the presence of the object of love.
The Greek word is agapaō, to have a preference for, or to wish well; to regard the welfare of. It is to take pleasure in; to prize it above other things; to be unwilling to abandon it or do without it; to welcome with desire; to long for.
We diminish the meaning of love when we view it as simply an emotion or feeling, and therefore subject to change. I may love someone because they are kind to me. If they stop being kind, I no longer love them, because my love was simply a positive feeling based on my current circumstances. Love is more than that; it is a decision of the will to act in light of a deep, abiding concern and affection for the object of our love.
When the Bible places “loving God” in the context of a command, it becomes the galvanizing force (strength) for not only how we feel about God (heart), but inspires our thoughts about Him (mind) and stimulates our desires for Him (soul). Loving God motivates our every decision and empowers our very lives.
To read more from this excerpt, see How Can I Love God with All My Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength?
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Originally published Monday, 07 August 2023.