“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 22:37 (KJV)
How are you? We often hear how much God loves us and He does love us so much. However, do we think about and talk about how we should love God? We are not only called to love God, but also commanded to love Him. And, of course, we are given free choice as to whether or not we will follow through and obey that command.
Before we look more closely at the words in Matthew 22:37, let’s ponder the word “love” and what a “godly love” might look like. When you think of a godly love, what kinds of thoughts, feelings, and actions come to mind? If you were playing a word association game, what sort of words would come to mind when you think about godly love? I ask these questions, because it seems to me that it is difficult to talk about a verse highlighting love, without calling to mind what it means to love.
Some of the things that come to mind when I think about a godly love are:
*A deep care about how others are feeling and doing
*A strong willingness to help others and lift them up when we can
*Faithfulness to those we love and not abandoning them
*Trusting that our loved ones love us and want the best for us
*Being trustworthy, so that others can depend on the fact that we love them
*Being joyful that our loved ones are a part of our life
*Being thankful for all our loved ones do for us
*Seeking to do things with and for those we love
This is not an exhaustive list of what love may look like and how we show love. What are some things that come to you mind when you think about showing godly love?
Now, let’s look at what Jesus tells us through the words in Matthew 22:37. Notice that the love we are to have for God isn’t just a fleeting love in a certain way. Notice that it isn’t a partial love. We are called to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind.
First, Jesus tells us that we are to love God with all our heart. To me, the heart is the center of our feelings and emotions. To me, we are to have an emotional love for and connection with God. He is not to be considered a stranger, but someone close and familiar. Think of the love you have for your closest friend or closest family member. Think about how it pulls at your heart strings when that person is feeling down and how it fills you with joy when that person is happy. Think about how you feel when you get to spend time with your loved one, and how happy you feel to share that time together. Do you have that same love for God?
Second, Jesus tells us that we are to love God with all our soul. To me, our soul is the deepest and truest part of ourselves. It is what we have when we peel the shell of our body away. It is the part of us that may sometimes be hidden from ourselves or from others, but never from God. However, sometimes it is thought of as an entire being as in mind, body, and spirit. We may think of this kind of love as “with every fiber of our being”.
Third, Jesus tells us that we are to love God with all our mind. To me, “with our mind” can mean two kinds of things. In one way, it can mean that we are just saying that we love someone. We love them intellectually, but not emotionally. We don’t really have a bond with them, but knowledge of a love, a kindness, or a friendship. It can also mean a logical trust, faithfulness, and even companionship that come with loving someone. I think it also encompasses the understanding that if we love someone, we will treat them with respect, spend time with them, help them, do things for them, care about them, etc.
Matthew 22:37 is such a deep and wonderful verse. In a way, it describes our purpose and meaning in life in one sentence. It is also a one sentence guide to how we should live our life, because if we do this all other things will fall into place. It is also a very personal command, because each one of us will have a different life, a different love, and a different relationship with God.
I encourage you to go out and live your most fulfilled, most lively, and most loving life you can, according to God’s will for you. Love God with your whole being, in the most full, most giving, most meek, and most honest way possible.
Thank you for being our Creator and Heavenly Father. Thank you for loving and providing for us. Help us to love and appreciate you with our whole beings as well. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Matthew 22:37 (KJV):
*What does Matthew 22:37 mean to me?
*What does love mean to me?
*What does loving God with my whole heart mean to me? Do I do it?
*What does loving God with my whole soul mean to me? Do I do it?
*What does loving God with my whole mind mean to me? Do I do it?
*What other verses remind me of Matthew 22:37?
*How can I better heed the words in Matthew 22:37?
*What message is God giving me through Matthew 22:37?
If you like this post on "love", you may also like these other posts on "love".
*Love and Fear
*Do You Love God with Your Whole Being?
*Charity Among Ourselves
*Do You Practice Pure Religion?
Now, it is your turn:
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This is Jodi. I am so glad you are here! I am a Christian and life-long learner. I enjoy sharing and encouraging others. I pray you are blessed by this blog. Thank you for being here.