All Your Heart, Soul, and Mind
"'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?' And he said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.'"
How many times have I skimmed over this passage? I've read it, memorized it, recited it... and then moved on to the next verse which says "love your neighbor as yourself." That one I've slowed the horses for. It seems easier to put it into practical how-to's and create specific actions. Love my neighbor? Ok!
Hold the door open for others.
Say please and thank you.
Don't be rude or condescending.
Treat others as you'd like to be treated.
Spend quality time together.
But what does it look like to love God?
And not only that, but to love Him with ALL my heart, soul, and mind?
In verse 37, the words "you shall love" are translated from agapēseis which comes from the word agapaó: to love, wish well to, take pleasure in, long for, to prefer (Strong's concordance). And Word Studies beautifully defines this love as a "discriminating affection which involves choice and selection."
To love God is to discriminate in favor of Him - that is, to purposely place Him apart from all else and give Him my preferred attention.
Love God with all my heart = trust God with my life. I will give my heart to the One who will care for it; the One who breathes life into me and gives me strength to fully live; the One who sees me as a treasure and desires my companionship. I am safe in His hands.
Love God with all my soul = I entrust my very being to my Creator. I choose to believe in an everlasting love and I fully surrender all that I am to Him.
Love God with all my mind = I have the power to choose where my thoughts will go and who or what gets my attention. Even if the wind feels like it's against me, I have the power to steer this mind-ship. And though I fail time and again, I want to place Him first. When God is my focus, all else will be as it should regardless of what I think I see or feel. And when my thoughts are first on Him, I can better identify the goodness in all things.
Only after we are intentional about loving (preferring, longing for, choosing) God and giving Him our best selves are we more readily able to move on to the next passage and bring that light and love to those that surround us. We give God our heart and He will beat it for a purpose. We give God our soul and He will tenderly root us with joy. We give God our mind and He will guide and instruct a willing listener.