I have just started an online Bible Study with Proverbs 31 Ministries called, “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God.” I am part of 22,000 + women around the world taking this study! Our memory verse for the first week is Deuteronomy 6:5, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (NIV) The first thing that came to my mind when I started meditating on this verse is that it says ALL your heart. Not 90%, not 95%, not even 98%, He wants all of my heart.
What does it mean to love Him with all my heart? My first thought was that it means to give Him my affection and love. To love Him first and to tell Him I love Him. The Hebrew dictionary defines the use of heart as “the inner person, self, the seat of thought and emotion.” What about loving Him with all my soul? My first reaction to this was to think about Him. To set my mind on Him and seek Him. The Hebrew dictionary explains this as “breath; by extension: life, life force, soul…the seat of emotion and desire; a creature or person as a whole.” Finally, to love Him with all your strength is defined in the Hebrew dictionary as, “a marker of great degree or quantity: very, greatly, exceedingly, much.” I had thought of it as serving Him, giving Him all my time and strength. Most translations say, “might” not “strength”. Might is probably a better translation.
I see these as being intertwined. We love Him with our whole person. As a living, breathing soul, I give Him my affection, love, and heart. I love Him with everything I’ve got, with all my might. To be honest, I wonder if I am capable of loving God this way. I want to. But have I ever really loved Him with ALL my might, with everything I’ve got? I think there have been moments. Moments of worship when my whole body, soul and spirit are focused on Him. Moments of service when I am fully aware He is working through me. Moments when I have been speaking to someone and knew the words came from Him. But I so quickly fall back into selfish ways. I want those moments to increase. For that to happen, I need to trust Him more. I need to give Him my time. I need to listen for His voice and be ready to say, “yes, Lord.”
In order to seek God this way, I have to be ready to die to myself. That is where the challenge is. In John 12:24, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” He also said in Luke 9:23, “…If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” It isn’t easy to die. It hurts. But that is the place where we experience God. I also notice Jesus said, “daily”. It would be nice if we could do this one time and it would be done but every day our flesh battles to take over again. I want to be willing to choose listening to Jesus.
Really, God just wants to be loved and honored. I didn’t have to fret trying to figure out how to love my husband when we got married. I loved him and I wanted to please him. I tried to think of things to do for him. When our son was placed in my arms, no one had to teach me how to love him. I was ready to put my whole being into meeting his needs. I chose to give my heart to my husband and to my child. Then I just loved them. (Not always perfectly) Even now when I fall into selfishness, I still know what I need to do in order to love them. It is about thinking of them before myself. So, maybe God wants us to love Him that way. He wants us to give Him our hearts and then think of Him before ourselves. It is not about the “acts” we do, it is about “loving” Him. Love wants to do what is best for the other. What is best for God is to give Him our time and attention and to show Him our love by loving others.
Father, thank you that you never give up on me. Thank you that you are so patient, kind and loving. Thank you that you continually teach me and draw me to follow you. Please help me to choose daily to deny myself and to love you above all. Help me to love you with all my heart, soul and might. I can’t do it in my own strength. Please enable me by the power of your Holy Spirit to choose to love you with my whole being.