“All my heart, Lord? My mind and soul, too? I get how to live with my heart, but my mind and soul? I’m not sure about that. And that loving my neighbor as myself? I think I do a pretty good job of that.”
But do we? Do we understand what it means to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind? Do we grasp what loving our neighbors as ourselves really means?
We tell people we love them with all our hearts, don’t we? That would seem to take away from what Jesus requires. All means all, right?
I don’t think Jesus meant we weren’t to love others, He said we are, but there’s something special about loving with all one’s heart and we need to figure it out.
If we love the Lord our God with all our heart, He comes first. His commands are unquestioned and are our delight. We long to spend every moment with Him. We soak up everything about Him, learning everything we can. And we imitate Him, like little children imitating Dad because He is their world.
Do we love Him with all our heart?
Jesus also includes soul and mind. I think those are the same. If we love Him with both, in addition to our heart, we are consumed by Him, thoughts of Him, longings for Him and His Kingdom.
But what about our family? How can we love then if we’re consumed by God?
We love them from that place. We can never love as God does, but if we are consumed by Him, heart, soul, and mind, we will love better and more than we ever could on our own.
Oh, I know. It doesn’t make sense to have our hearts taken up completely yet be able to love more. It’s one of those God-things that we can’t explain, but can really enjoy.
Oh! Wait! There’s more! (I just had to.)
Love our neighbor as ourselves?
First of all, we must love ourselves. For a lot of years, we’ve maintained that it’s pride to love ourselves, that to be humble we must not love ourselves. But Jesus said to do love outwardly the way we love inwardly. If we don’t love us, that’s how we’ll love others, and that’s not what God says to do.
I think we need to get this straight, this loving ourselves first, so that we can love our neighbors that way.
Let’s start work on these two commands today. It’s going to feel tough and wrong to shove our love for parents and spouse and children into smaller spaces so that our love for God encompasses all our hearts, but we must. And keep working until it’s a done deal. It IS right and it IS worth it.
Let’s also work at loving ourselves. Not just pampering from time to time, but love that person in the mirror. Look in those eyes and see that person. Notice everything and realize God designed that amazing person and he/she is so worthy of your love. Then we can turn that love outward.
Coffee, Bible, Journal.
© 2019 Faye Stoeffler Bryant