And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.Mark 12:30(KJV)
The very nature and heart of God is eternal LOVE and this sublime attribute permeates all His other superlative qualities. This greatest of all commands to LOVE the Lord our God, embraces and intertwines with every other facet of His beautiful, eternal character.
Love is the alpha and headspring of the fruit of the spirit. Love is the superlative and pre-eminent affection of the soul. Love is the peak and pinnacle of a life that is hid with Christ in God. And when all is brought to completion there remains these three: Faith and Hope and Love - but the greatest of all is LOVE.
God desires that we love HIM to the very heart and core of our being, so that the deepest affection of our souls is securely centred with love on Him. God also desires that we love Him with every fibre of our intellect and understanding, so that our moment-by-moment thoughts and cognitive ponderings turn in love to His beautiful Person, with an undivided mind.
Jesus identifies this as the greatest of all the commandments given to Israel through Moses, "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." But Jesus goes even further, for as well as loving the Lord with all our heart and soul and strength, He adds that we are to love the Lord our God with all our whole mind and intellect as well.
To love, "the Lord with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind, and with all our strength," is the first commandment. It is the greatest of all commands, for it means to love the Lord and seek Him with a passion for Who He is and not for any other motives. It is to find our sole satisfaction in Him alone and to strive with every fibre of our being to love Him more and more.
To fulfil the first commandment given to Israel and to attain to the greatest command that Christ gave the Church, "to love as He loves us," brings us to the brink of despair, for it requires God's fallen creatures to attain to the impossible. It is a command we will inevitably fail. But it also lays the groundwork of understanding God's love for us and His grace towards us, "that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
It is also designed to bring us to an understanding that without Christ we can do nothing, but in Him we can do all things.. including to love as Christ loved us by allowing Him to live and work through us, so that as His love shines through our life, He would be glorified through it.
It is out of His deep and everlasting love for us that He commands this level of affection from His children - for it is only as our love is centred upon Him, that our lives will be transformed into His image and likeness. Only then will His perfect love flow through us to others.
Loving the Lord with all our heart and soul and mind and strength is a progressive love that builds and develops in our Christian walk, for as we grow in grace and in a knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, so we grow in love for the Lord our God and are enabled to have that love translated into the good works that God has prepared for us to do.
Only as our thoughts and desires are focussed on HIM will we grow in grace and in a knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Only as we love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength, will our love be centred on Him, and our lives transformed into the image of the likeness of the only begotten Son of His Love.
May we learn to consciously love the Lord with our heart - to love Him with every fibre of our being. May we seek to love the Lord with all our soul - to love Him our will and our emotions. May we be determined to love the Lord with all our mind - our intellect and undivided attention and may we endeavour to love the Lord with all our strength - to love Him with every part of ourself... spirit, soul, and body.
May our love for the Lord reflect the command in this challenging verse, "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first and greatest commandment."
Father God, I know that my love is weak and cold by comparison with Your yearning heart of love towards me which is expressed in the incredible gift of the Lord Jesus as my Substitute and Saviour. I want to love You more and more with every facet of my life, in thought and word and deed - spirit, soul, and body. Pour into my heart Your holy love, that I may be used as a channel of blessing through whom Your precious love flows out to those that I meet today. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.
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