In the book of Matthew, Jesus states the greatest commandment is loving the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind. But in Mark and Luke, it also mentions loving the Lord with all your strength: “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.” Mark 12:30 With it’s mention missing in Matthew, one could easily overlook this, or interpret that it is not as important as the other three. However, being present in two other books, makes it as equally important. We’ve already looked at Loving The Lord With All Thy Heart, Loving The Lord With All Thy Soul, and Loving the Lord With All Thy Mind. Today, we finish off this important passage by examining loving the Lord with all thy strength.
When asked which commandment is the greatest, Jesus answers “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.” Mark 12:30 What a detailed commandment. Is it possible to even love God in these four ways? Where does one start? We’ve covered loving the Lord with all your heart, and loving the Lord with all your soul. Next we’ll cover loving the Lord with all your Strength. But today, we’re focusing on loving the Lord with all your mind. What does that mean? How can we do that?
Previously, we covered the first part of the greatest commandment that Jesus gives in Mark 12:30, love the Lord with all they heart. The second part of the greatest commandment that Jesus gives in Mark 12:30 is to love the Lord with all thy soul. When we specifically pull this out of the equation, what does that mean? How does one specifically love God with all their soul? How is it different from loving God with all their heart, mind, and strength?
Earlier this month we discussed Mark 12:30. It’s a verse that even those not well versed in the Bible likely are familiar with: “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.” Mark 12:30 Many of us who love God believe we are doing so with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. But when we are really honest with ourselves, we find that we fall short in at least one area. Still others don’t really know what it looks like to love like this. This week we focus on one area, loving the Lord thy God with all thy heart.
Our Old Testaments are full of do’s and don’t-do’s. We know full well that since the fall of man, not one of us has been able to keep all the commands. We all mess up. We choose (according to which society we live in) which are easier to keep or harder to keep. We even hide behind man’s laws at times to convince ourselves we’re “not such a bad person” for sins that our society has long ago decided “aren’t so bad.” But when we are trying to follow all our loving Father has outlined for our lives, it can be overwhelming. Where do I start?
I recently read an article titled something like, What Do Other Militaries Think About American Soldiers? There were good, and there were bad things in the article, but that’s to be expected. A few things stood out however. Amazing and inspiring things that I think no matter what country we are from or what walk of life, as Christians we can learn from—and need to. Friends, we are at war spiritually and that won’t let up until we see our Jesus coming back in the clouds to end the battle and declare peace—a peace like we have never known. Until then, that make you and I soldiers. And there were a few things in this article (good and bad) that we can learn from to help us be the best soldiers humanly possible.
No matter what your political views are, you’ve likely noticed a drastic change in the direction our country–and even this world–is headed. Things are changing, and our future looks quite uncertain at the current time. We, as a nation, are turning away from relying on the Lord, and more toward relying on ourselves–or so we think. We are “embracing the unity in diversity” (Really, I saw the sign a month ago–still trying to wrap my mind around it). In the name of “accepting everyone’s differences as equal,” our nation is pushing (and soon I believe will be demanding) that we all think and act alike in order to embrace diversity. Loving our neighbor is no longer enough. Freedom of speech is disappearing. Freedom of religion is…next? Who knows how bad it will get before it gets better? Are you prepared for the unknown? What if you knew the unknown was going to get really, really bad? Most of us don’t know what our roles will be in the coming months and years. But there is one thing we do know. We are all going to have to step it up a notch. One thing is for certain, we are going to need […]
Life happens. Even to the best of us. Some days are wonderful. Everything goes our way. We receive affirmation that the meals we’ve planned are the best our family has ever had. The men in our lives remind us how beautiful we are. The bills are paid and there’s enough money in the bank to put a little more into the savings account. That dream vacation is getting closer and you’ve already got your vacation clothes picked out and packed (and of course they look great on you). These are the days that are easier for us to praise God. These are the days that are easier during family devotionals to spill our hearts about how great and how generous He is. When we say the grace before our meals we can do it with a spring in our voices and a smile on our faces. And our children take notice. But then there are days that aren’t so wonderful. And sometimes, these days turn into weeks, months, or even a year.
“Increase our faith!” the apostles begged Jesus in Luke 17:5. Loving the Lord, and seeing all that He was, they desired still to have more faith. And they downright begged for it. Are you in the same boat? I am. More Jesus. I want more of You! But how? If the disciples who walked and talked and ate and slept with Jesus weren’t filled to their satisfaction, how are we to accomplish this? Is asking Jesus for more faith the way to go, or is it futile? Is there another way? The good news is, there are indeed ways to increase your faith. The sometimes frustrating news is that they take time and effort.
For some of us, saying good-bye is a highly emotional situation. We say good-bye to a friend who must travel a long way home–without ever knowing if or when we will see him or her again. We say good-bye to friends at hospitals or funerals. Some of us even say good-bye to our military husband before he gets on a plane headed toward an unknown future. I’m right there beside you Friends. And while I was the one boarding a plane nearly 20 years ago, I otherwise full-well understand the pain of all of the aforementioned good-byes. And they hurt. We say we won’t cry. Mostly, we do anyway–if not in front of our loved ones, then later when we are alone. Why are good-byes so painful?