‘Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’ (Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV)
Jesus said this command from the Old Testament is the primary and greatest command from God to His people
(Matthew 22:37-38), and so from the very beginning God intended to relate to His people on the basis of love. The trouble is, to the modern ear this is a strange way to use the word ‘love’. After all love is something you do voluntarily isn’t it? Surely love is a feeling not a command. However, the command given in Deuteronomy and by Jesus is that in loving the Lord God we are to do so with all [our] heart and with all [our] soul and with all [our] strength. In other words we are commanded to love God with every fibre of our being and with our whole life. If love is basically a feeling, then when you love someone, you only love them with part of you.
What does loving the Lord in this all-encompassing way mean? The passage in Deuteronomy gives some clues:
‘when you sit at home and when you walk along the road’ (v.7) means in your private and your public life;
‘on the head and on the hand’ (v.8) means what you’re thinking inside and how you act outside – no double standards, no hypocrisy;
‘when you lie down and when you get up’ (v.7), that’s your entire waking life;
‘on the doorframes of your houses’ (v.9) means you apply it to your family;
‘on your gates’ (v.9) means you apply it to the economic, political, and civic life of your whole society.
All of this implies that to love the Lord in this way means you’ll love God in every aspect of your life. You won’t just love God at the weekends. You won’t just love God in your private life, but not in your public life. You won’t love God with this person but not with that person. Every single nook and cranny of our lives is to be affected by our love for God.
Does that sound difficult? Well it’s not difficult, for us it’s impossible – but not for Jesus. He not only taught this commandment he lived it perfectly as is demonstrated in his complete obedience to his Father, even to death on a cross
Our hope of loving the Lord God with all our heart, soul, and strength rests in Jesus’s perfect obedience. He has lived it, and as we trust and allow him to live in and through us we will discover the power to live it too.
Lord God, I can’t love you with all my heart, strength, and soul, but Jesus did. As my eyes are fixed on him may your Spirit install in me a deeper, higher, wider, truer love for you so that I can enter into and enjoy the relationship you have always wanted with me.
Have a good week loving the Lord.