“And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
I’ve been wanting to just touch on this verse for a week now. It was read at my home church the night before I came back to MC. And something changed for me about this verse as we read it.
1) YOU. How many times is “you” or “your” mentioned in this verse? A lot. The ball is in our court, as they say, to love God with everything we have. God is not a God who forces us to love Him, He wants us to love Him. “You can make somebody love you/God won’t force a heart to move/He so values our affection/the human heart He won’t abuse” (from “Love’s A Mystery” by Laura Hackett). He so values our affection that He wants us to chose to love Him.
2)LOVE. Why not honor or serve or fear? Why love? Because He first loved us. He made us out of love, He called us very good, He wants a relationship with us, a love relationship, an intimate friendship. He wants us to love Him because He loves us so. I think we know what this is like. Ever heard of unrequited love? It’s when we love someone, but they do not return it. They just want to be friends. And awkward friends at that. Well, God doesn’t do unrequited love. He desires us to love Him back, not just as a surface-level friend, but as a beloved, intimate friend. He “made the first move,” so to speak, He sent His only Son to show His love for us, for there is no greater love than this: that one dies for His friends. Now all we have to do is take His hand, and fall in love back.
3) HEART/MIND/SOUL/STRENGTH. This is a big one. This relationship is going to require everything. Luke 14:33, “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” Everything.
We have to lay down our hearts…our feelings, our affections, our emotions must be turned His way. To love God with all of our hearts means we cannot love anyone else more than we love God. Or anything.
We have to lay down our minds…all our thoughts, all our understanding, all our knowledge, must be made His.
We must lay down our souls…also translated as spirit…we must lay down our spirit (literally, everything we are or think we might become) in exchange for HIS SPIRIT. This is an exchange. A big one. His Spirit is the same power that conquered the grave. Take that in!
Finally, we have to lay down our strength…every ounce of our ability must be given to Him. And in our weakness, His strength is made perfect.
It’s all an exchange…giving up everything we have and everything we are, for everything HE is.
And I think the exchange is worth it. In fact, Jesus agrees greatly with the scribe who says that this whole love exchange is worth much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.
What about you, do you believe it is worth it?