Ever since my Sunday School lesson and our pastor’s sermon yesterday, this keeps going through my mind. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind” (Deut 6:5, Matt 22:37) It has been rolling around in my head with the question “Do I do that?”. After all, Jesus says this is the greatest commandment, which means I am supposed to follow it. I have to break it down to get a better picture of whether I am in tune with what God wants or not.
Love the Lord with all my heart. The heart is the center of our emotions. We love, or hate or have joy or sorrow in our heart. Only we can know what is truly in our hearts (and God). We often put on one face to look good while our heart has a totally different thing going on inside it. Our heart is what will lust after the things of this world because it is the root of our desires. Many times I find my desires go the opposite way God would want them. My emotions take hold of me and I just can’t seem to control how I speak or think. My heart is out of whack with God. It is in these times that I cry out for mercy because I know my heart has not been right to a brother or sister that I should be loving. I have not forgiven them, or I gossip about them, or I back bite them when they are out of earshot. All of those things start in my heart. Is my heart set on loving God or loving the things of this world?
Our heart is also deceitful (James 17:9). Pride is centered in the heart. That is one thing I want to stay away from as far as possible. It has caused me too many problems in the past. Our heart will mask pride in us so we don’t see it unless the Holy Spirit reveals it to us. I have learned to recognize when pride is starting to rise up within me and can often put it aside. But sometimes my wife has to step in and let me know that my pride was active again. I thank God I have a help mate who is willing to do that, and that He has brought me to a place where I listen to her. Don’t let your heart deceive you into thinking you have no pride. We all have pride – it’s just a matter of controlling the actions that pride manifests in our lives. When we love God with all our heart, pride takes a back seat.
The heart is also what God judges us by. When Samuel came to Jesse to anoint a king, he went through all the brothers and then asked Jesses if that was all. Jesse said he had the youngest out watching the sheep, and God told Samuel not to look at his outward appearance but to look at the heart. Isaiah 11:3-4 tells us that we should not judge by what we see and hear, but with righteous judgment we should consider things. You see, the heart can deceive us, but it cannot deceive God. God will test our heart to see where our true devotion lies. While it is very hard for me to know what is in someone else’s heart, God always knows. If I am totally devoted to Him, my heart will be pure. When my heart is pure, I shall see God (Matt 5:8). That is loving God withal my heart!
Love the Lord with all my soul. The soul represents our lifestyle and the way we conduct ourselves on this earth. Boy, this is going to be tough! As I look at my day, in what ways does my life show that I love God with all my soul? I praise Him every morning before my feet hit the floor. I thank Him for the breath he has given me to live one more day. Thank Him that I can open my eyes and see. I thank Him for who He is and all he has done for me. Then I pray for those I know need a touch. Then I get out of bed.
Once out of bed, I take some time in the word with a devotional study I am going through with a friend of mine. It is a challenging book and we text each other what we got out of that days lesson every day. After that, I get down to my work for the day, or take a shower, or work on music, depending on how the mood strikes me. The rest of the day is spent doing things around the house, or with work or writing. God is always on my mind – praise is always in my head – prayers for those in need come as God prompts me to pray. To me, this sounds good, but how does God see it?
I wonder this all the time. He has given me dozens of songs to work on. I often wonder if I should be taking more time to work on them. The time I spend in His word is not very long – should I spend more time there? I am not a good witness when out in public – I have to admit that. I do not speak boldly to those I encounter, but instead hope they see the joy in my life and will ask where it comes form. I wait for an opening in other words. Should I be doing more?
I often think if I truly loved God with all my soul I would want to tell everyone about His incredible love for them. I would also never speak evil about anyone – I would only speak things that lift up other people around me (Eph 4:29). I would speak thinks that are honest, pure, lovely, just and truthful (Phil 4:8). My mouth would line up with the sweet spirit within. I also would want to spend as much time in His word as I can, taking in all that He has for me. I would have a stronger desire and drive to learn to play the piano better so I can play the songs He has given me. Why don’t I do those things? Is it because I do not love Him with all my soul? My lifestyle does not revolve completely around Him or these things would take priority. Lord, help me to love you more in my soul.
Love the Lord with all your mind. My mind races 100 miles per hour all the time it seems. From one pursuit to another, I am always trying to think one step ahead of myself. I know I must keep it focused on the tasks I have to compete or it will wander off to places I do not want it to go. Believe me, I’ve spent enough time in those other places, places displeasing to God, and I want to do everything I can to avoid going back there. I must keep my mind occupied.
So during the day there’s the mapping job I have, my blog, my poetry, the many songs to work on, some picture books I am putting together for my kids for Christmas, chores around the house, what to have for meals, etc., etc. All these things occupy my mind. And I’m sure you can plainly see that in making that list, I did not mention reading the scripture, praying, praising Him or just being silent before Him. These things mix in all day long. My mind is constantly on the go.
My desire is more time with Him. They say you will take the time to do what you really want to do. If you are not making time form something, it means, in your heart, you really don’t want to do it. I sincerely want to spend more time in the word and more time just waiting on God and listening for His voice. I must make up my mind to take that time despite the distractions around me and the many things that are on my list to accomplish every day. I have all the ability in the world to do this – I just have to do it. If I love Him with all my mind, I will!
I like to play a game called Brain candy quite often. If you have never tried it, look it up on the web. It’s really quite fascinating sometimes. Whenever the challenge for that day is to try and figure out my personality I am said to be creative, imaginative, intelligent, resourceful, caring and compassionate. These things seem to be in my mind enough that they come up with the oddball tests they give you. Others tell me this is very true about me. My mind runs fast and thinks of things on the fly, and that is a good thing at times, and a bad thing at other times. I ask God all the time to help me temper my thoughts with His word so I do not stumble. He is helping me all the time.
That’s my assessment. I do my best to love Him with all that is within me – with all my heart, soul and mind. I often fall short. I am so glad He is merciful to me.
Dear Lord, cause me to hunger more for you. cause me to seek you out throughout the day, to take time to be with you in the midst of all that I have to do, and to honor you with my full attention. You are worthy of the best I can give, and that is all of myself. Help me to live out Romans 12:1 and be a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to you, which is my reasonable service. Thank you Lord, for your mercy on me!