The past week I’ve been asking questions about the familiar passage of the greatest commandment:
“Love the Lord your God
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.”
– Mark 12:30 HCSB
What does it mean to Love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength? To be honest, to me it has always seemed unattainable, something to aim for, but knowing I would never hit the mark. Then I realized I probably needed a new perspective, so I set out to find out more and be open to change my thinking about the greatest commandment Jesus talks about in this verse, a cross reference to Matthew 22:37, the theme verse for last week’s His Kingdom Come Community.
I came across a free online Bible reference library that is a great tool for in-depth Bible study: blueletterbible.org. When I put the verse in the search box, and then clicked on the dropdown menu, the Strong’s Concordance information is accessible, along with other resources and reference aids such as Vine’s Dictionary etc. I am now adding this site to my bookmark bar alongside Bible Gateway.
First I looked up the word “Love,” fitting for Valentine’s Day week, “Agapao” in the Greek. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says when the word is used of the love of God, “it involves the idea of affectionate reverence, prompt obedience, grateful recognition of benefits received.” That makes sense to me.
The surprise for me came in the Bible usage section! I got an instant picture in my mind as I read about agapeo love: “to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly.” There is a progression, like going into the home of someone’s heart and life.
1. “to welcome” – to invite someone to cross the threshold and to enter in
2. “to entertain” – to be prepared for a guest, to get to know her/him better such as over a meal or planned time together.
3. “to be fond of” – to hang out together, beyond the planned structure of entertaining in the front rooms, now extending into the kitchen, family room, garden etc. The relationship has grown into friendship, wanting to be with the other, communicating often.
4. “to love dearly” – to be intimate with one another, trust is established, nothing hidden, nothing held back. In essence, becoming a lover, one, which also includes all of the above.
This is a great comfort to me. No matter where I am in receiving God’s love and learning to love God, He is always there, inviting me into more of Him. He actually wants me to invite Him deeper into me too! I can love God because He loved me first, and I can learn to love Him better, inviting God into the depths of myself. It In doing that, I can love myself, and in turn, love my neighbor.
Then I looked up heart, soul, mind, and strength. There was quite a bit of overlap, which reminds me not to compartmentalize myself too much. I am a whole person. The heart, soul, mind and strength include :
“the center of all my physical and spiritual life, all my passions, desires, thoughts, affections, appetites purposes, endeavors, understanding, intelligence, will, character, breath, life, vital force, feelings, way of thinking, imagination, abilities, power, essence and spirit.”
So basically, with everything I am,
I am to love God.
I am to love God.
The pages in this post were sketched and written lightly in pencil, then Copic pens. Next, I carefully erased the pencil lines with a white pen eraser. Then colored with Prismacolor colored pencils.