Each week this year, I am challenging myself to memorize a Scripture verse (or verses). This week’s memory verses are Mark 12:29-31.
In these verses, we are told – by Jesus – to love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength. Let’s look at that a little closer…
You can’t begin to understand a relationship with God unless you understand this point: there is only one God. What matters is not rules and regulations and which one is most important; what matters is a relationship with the One true and only God.
Jesus gave a two-part answer to the question He was asked—love God, love others. It was a summation of the Ten Commandments, which are broken into two groups: a faithful relationship with God, and a faithful relationship with others.
Concerning our love for God, Jesus tells us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. So what does that look like? What does it mean to love God with all of you?
1) Heart… kardia… the middle, thoughts or feelings.
2) Soul… psyche… breath, spirit.
3) Mind… dianoia… deep thought, imagination, mind, understanding.
4) Strength… ischys… power, strength, ability.
These 4 parts of us represent our:
– Values (heart)
– Character (soul)
– Thoughts and feelings (mind), and
– Will (strength).
Your values are the deepest held beliefs about yourself and the universe around you. These values then influence your thoughts and feelings, which result in your character—the thing that makes you you. Your will is the outward expression of your character; the things you say and do. God wants us to bring all of those things into a love relationship with Him, and then take that same love and pour it out into the lives of others.
Let’s look at some ways to love God:
– Your heart (core values)
Is a relationship with Him the ultimate focus of your life?
Does He take first place?
Do you desire for His values to be overlaid on your life, or do you overlay your values onto God?
– Your soul (character)
Are you becoming more like Him or less? (like those who have been married for a long time)
What is the reaction when you think/feel/do something you know isn’t like God? Is it “so what?” or “oh no!” and then what do you do with that reaction—do you run from God or towards Him?
How do react when God does something you don’t understand, don’t like, or is clearly discipline? Do you want to run towards Him or away? (Hebrews 12:7-11)
Do you love him with your total being?
– Your mind (thought life and emotions)
Do you allow God access to your thoughts? (Psalms 139:23-24)
Do you think often about God and His character? (Philippians 4:8-9)
Do you want your thoughts to match what Jesus thought? (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Are you attuned to God—listening actively for Him speaking His values to your mind?
Do your thoughts automatically reflect the values in God’s Word? (Romans 12:2)
– Your strength (decisions, outward acting of the character)
Is this age becoming less attractive or more?
Do you strive to love and serve him energetically? (Philippians 2:12)
Have you devoted all your physical and material capabilities and talents and abilities to him?
Is it becoming easier or harder to make decisions in alignment with His will? (Romans 12:2)
Are your decisions more and more those that benefit God’s kingdom?
* Overall ways to check on the depth of your relationship
Do you take pleasure in his company?
Is it becoming easier to hear His voice?
Is it easier or harder to submit to Him and even love Him, even when you don’t understand?
Do you feel more like you “get” God?
A love relationship, like a good recipe, has important ingredients:
Time, dedication, communication, effort, and a giving up of self.