Love The Lord!

Dear friends,
 
This week's command is 'Love the Lord.' A lawyer asked Jesus, "Master, what is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind" (Matthew 22:36-37). If someone was to ask me if I loved God, I would be tempted to say, "With all my heart! I serve in the church, I volunteer at the Pro-life pregnancy center, I give my money to feed the poor--you see, I love God!" While doing these things are great and well-pleasing to the Lord, it is notnecessarily an indication that I love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
 
This commandment is called 'great,' because it (along with the command like it) is the basis for every other command given.
I am not going to pretend that I completely understand the distinctions between the spirit, the heart, the mind, the will, the emotions, the soul, etc. but I will try to discuss a few of these areas in regards to loving the Lord.
 
The heart: the heart is sometimes referred to as the seat of our affections. Hence, the big red cut-out heart that signifies love and warm feelings toward another. What holds your affections? What do you long for? What would crush you if you had to live without it? I could say my family for sure, but right up there with them is a desire for approval, and a desire to be married. These things are good to want, but if they become more important to me than loving God, God has been de-throned in my heart. It reminds me of the verse,"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you" (Mat. 6:33). If we make God the priority in our lives and in our affections, the other things will fall into their rightful place, and not only that, but the love we have for those things will be Godly love, not love that flows from selfish ambition.
 
The soul: The soul has sometimes been defined as the mind, will, and emotions. Here I'll just talk about the will. Where do I begin with this often self-motivated entity of our being? Everyday we make choices; choices to do what is right in God's sight, or choices to follow our natural inclinations that violate God's ways. I really don't like to think that my daily decisions are a measure of my love for God, but they are. "He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me..." (John 14:21a). If I truly love God, I will be faithful in obeying His commandments day in and day out, especially to those who it may be hardest to forgive and show unconditional love to.
 
 
The mind: "Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (II Corinthians 10:5). Thoughts can be a hard area to control (not speaking from personal experience or anything ; ) but we need to be sure that we are not allowing thoughts that are contrary to God's ways. It is easy for me to look at my outward works and think highly of myself, but if I was to really evaluate all the thoughts that I allow, would it reflect a mind that loves God completely? People can't see our thoughts so it is tempting to let thoughts linger longer than is appropriate. If we truly love God, we will seek to please Him even in our thought life.
 
How do you know if you love the Lord?
-You keep His commandments. "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). and"For this is the love of God; that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not grevious" (I John 5:2-3). Just going through the 10 Commandments and evaluating those is enough to show me I have room to grow in my love for the Lord. Idols? Coveteousness? Dishonoring to parents? ouch.
-You are making disciples. "He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, Lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto Him, Lord thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep" (John 21:17). When Jesus asked if Peter loved Him, it is interesting that His reply was to provide spiritual nourishment for believers.
-You have love for others. "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, that he who loveth God love his brother also" (I John 4:20-21). Enough said.
 
-Is there anything competing for your affections that you need to deal with?
-Do your daily choices and thought life reflect a heart fully after God?
-Who are you discipling right now?
 
"And now, O Israel, what doth the Lord require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all soul, To keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?" (Deuteronomy 10:12-13).
 
Blessings,
Amanda
Notes adapted from IBLP Commands of Christ study guide and pocket guide





 
 

2 comments:

  1. Wow! That bit under 'The Soul' really hit the nail on the head! This was very encouraging, and definitely something I needed right now. Thanks for posting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad this post in encouraged you. Praise The Lord. Amanda really does a good job writing these articles.

      Delete