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Love God

Mark 12:28-30
   And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
   And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
   And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

   Jesus Christ condensed the law of the old testament into two great commandments - Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself.  The scribe had asked Jesus what was the most important thing - the first commandment.  He asked because he had perceived that Jesus had answered other questions well.  The question was an honest one and Jesus Christ responded with the truth from God's Word.  To recognize the one true God and love Him with all of the heart, soul, mind and strength is the most important and first commandment.

   Verse 30 emphasizes each point.

  1. Love God with your whole heart.
  2. Love God with your whole soul.
  3. Love God with your whole mind.
  4. Love God with your whole strength.
    I will start in reverse order.  These four points build from effort to thought to being to heart.  We take action on God's Word and with effort put loving God at the center of all we do.  We read and study God's Word and train our mind to think about God and His Word and so begin to love God with all of our mind.  As that word fills our thoughts we begin to love God with all of our soul - our whole life.  Then finally the Word of God becomes centered in the deepest part of our life and love for God fills our heart.

   While these build in reverse order, they can also be understood equally as loving God with your whole being.  With all your strength means everything you say and do.  In all actions love God first because what you do is what you are.  With all your mind means loving God is in all of your thoughts.  What you think is what you are.  With all your soul means loving God with all your emotions and your whole being.  Soul is what makes you what you are.  With all your heart represents the innermost part of you.  In short, all four points emphasize that we are to love God with our whole being.  In everything we say and do and think and feel God is to be at the center of our life.

   Loving God with your whole strength is action.  Part of that action is recognizing that in ourselves we have no strength.  God is the strength of our life and it is God's strength in us that makes us able to do.

Colossians 3:17
   And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

   It is because of the work of Jesus Christ that we have a family relationship with God.  We do all things in the name of Jesus Christ and give thanks to God who so loved the world that He gave us His son.  And because of that work of Christ we can now call God our Father and love Him as sons and daughters with all of our strength - in all we do.  We love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

I Peter 4:11
   If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

   The word ability in this verse is the same Greek word as the word strength in Mark chapter 12.  We speak according to God's Word.  We DO according to the strength or ability that God gives us to do His Word.  When God and His Word are at the center of all we do and say, we glorify God and begin to love Him with all of our strength.

Proverbs 16:3
   Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.

   In building a loving relationship with God; in learning to love God with all of our strength, mind, soul, and heart; we commit that which we do to God and our thoughts become established in His Word.  We begin to love God with all of our mind.

   We are to love God with our whole mind.  The mind is the organ of mental perception.  We think with our mind.    That means that we must control the thoughts that we think and focus our thoughts on God and His Word.

Colossians 3:2
   Set your affection (phronema - thoughts!) on things above, not on things on the earth.

   "Things above" is not talking about the moon, stars, or the sky.  God is in the heavens (Psalm 115:3).  We are to set our thoughts on God and the things of God rather than on the things of the earth.  Loving God with all of our mind means we are to think about God and His Word.

Psalm 10:4
   The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.

   Our thoughts are to be directed toward seeking God.  The unbeliever, the wicked, never think about God.  We love God with all of our mind by setting our thoughts on Him.

Isaiah 26:3
   Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

   When the thoughts we think are stayed on God we trust God to care for us.  We begin to love God with all of our mind by turning our thoughts to Him and keeping our mind there - stayed.

Psalm 94:19
   In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.

   We love God by thinking about Him and His Word.  When the multitude of our thoughts are on God the comfort of God's presence delights our whole being and we begin to love God with all of our soul.

  God and His Word must be the center of our whole life.  We must love God with all of our soulSoul is life.  It is what makes you who you are.   The word soul represents the individual - his thoughts and emotions - his whole being.  With all that we are we seek the Lord and love God with our whole soul.

Psalm 25:1
   Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.

Psalm 33:20
   Our soul waiteth for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.

Psalm 42:2
   My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: . . .

Psalm 63:1
   O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is;

Psalm 130:6
   My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.

  We are to seek God with our whole being as a thirsty man seeks water in a dry land or as the night watchman waits for the dawn.  We seek God and put His word into our life and it is His Word that changes our soul from being self-centered to being God-centered.

Psalm 19:7
   The law of the Lord is perfect, converting (changing) the soul:  the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

Psalm 119:129
   Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.

   When our whole life is centered on seeking and loving God, then God becomes the center of our being and His Word fills all of our heart.

   The heart is the center or seat of your personal life.  It is the innermost part of your mind and being.  What we believe and how we act reflects that which is at the center of our life:  that which is in our heart.

Proverbs 4:23
   Keep thy heart with all diligence: for out of it are the issues of life.

   We are to keep our heart with all diligence.  That means strength and effort.  That means thinking about God and His Word.  That means seeking God with all that we are.  We love God by keeping His Word in our heart.

Psalm 119:11
   Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Psalm 37:31
   The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.

Psalm 40:8
   I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

   God knows what is in our heart; whether it be His Word or the words of a strange god.

Psalm 44:20-21
   If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god;
   Shall not God search this out?  for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

   We love God by putting His word in our heart and with all diligence keeping our heart centered on Him.  We need to respond to God as did the Psalmist:

Psalm 27:8
   When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.

Mark 12:32
   And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
    And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
   To love God with all that we are, with our whole strength, mind, soul, and heart is the most important thing.  God help us to keep loving You central in our lives.

July, 1999
Michael Cortright