“and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul [life], and with all your mind [thought, understanding], and with all your strength.”
Jesus tells us that this is the first and most important commandment. As such, it is crucial that we understand how to fulfill it. At a minimum, we can see that He is instructing us to love God with everything we have. But let us explore exactly how we can walk that out and faithfully practice obedience to the greatest commandment.
The heart spoken of in this passage is not the blood-pumping organ within our bodies but the figurative heart. In scripture, the heart is often regarded as the seat of feeling, impulse, affection and desire. That is the connotation in this verse. The heart represents our emotional center. It is the place from which we commonly believe love to originate, the place from which we draw our passion and compassion.
Loving God with all our hearts demands that we relinquish our emotions to Him, and with that their fleeting nature. As with the other types of love described in this verse, divine control is integral to putting this commandment into practice. When under human control, our emotions are wild, fleeting and self-serving. When under God’s control, they can be honed into a vehicle by which He can teach us selflessness, empathy and understanding. This allows us to love as He loves.
To follow this greatest commandment, self-sacrifice is key. Our desire must be to experience our emotions as God would have us experience them so that we are loving as Christ loves. Father, thank you that You have softened our hearts and turned them from stone to flesh, and continue to teach us to love You with ALL of our hearts, holding nothing back.