It's February, and love is in the air. Valentine's day is just around the corner, and my mailbox is filled with advertisements. Offers from companies that tell me their products will give me the best love experience that I have ever had. From dinner for two to a weekend at the Maldives, promises that entice me to believe my acceptance of their offers will give me something unforgettable.
Don't we all love the romantic expression of love? And we should. If we take a cue from our creator, he has shown us that the ultimate expression of life, is love. Read with me the book of Matthew; in chapter 22, one of Jesus’ disciples asked him what the greatest commandment was. What was the one thing that trumps it all, the shortcut to being right with God? Without hesitation or deliberations, Jesus answers him in verses 37, 38, and 39. " Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
The disciple asked for a shortcut and got it – Love God, Love others. There! Right at the beginning of the sentence is a word that has hunted humanity since its existence. The search for love and to be loved has created some of the world's most tremendous pain and pleasure. Interestingly, when He gave us the command to love, He directs us to the One to whom we must love first, and that’s God.
To love God is no small request, as Jesus goes on to explain. It isn't something you do with careless attention. It's an all-in, whole-hearted devoted kind of claim. To love God, you must love him with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
With all your heart:
It’s a phrase that speaks to our emotions. You know the feeling that comes from liking something or someone. That excitement when you see the person your heart desires, yes that. God is calling us to love him deeply and wants our heart to belong to him above all else. We need to feel our love for him that we smile at his words and laugh in delight at his promises. We weep at his heartbreak when we see the pain in his world. We speak up with courage at injustice because our love demands we do. To love God, you have to feel for him and with him, with all your heart.
With all your soul:
When you love God with all your soul, it goes beyond feelings. It's an unseen tie. A bond. A connection. Like with a very close friend or your spouse – that unseen cord connects you in your spirit. It makes you Soulmates. You get each other. You know each other so well; you can anticipate each other's next move. To love God, you must move beyond expressing your feelings to learning and connecting with God on a deeper level.
With all your mind:
The mind is just a tricky little thing that will destroy you if you don't control it. Your thoughts can guide you or kill you, depending on how you have trained them to reason. To love God, you have to align your thoughts to his. You can't let the lies and destructive images of this world to plant and take hold of your mind that you start to doubt God. Or even worse, begin to lose your faith in God. You have to align your thinking to how he thinks, which is all spelled out in his words. Your thoughts must reflect his and hold steady even when the winds of life toss you around.
Heart, soul, mind – that's what I call a threefold cord that can't easily be broken.
Do you want love? It's not in the bed of a stranger or at the bottom of an empty bottle of alcohol. Do you want love? Then take the words of your creator and turn to him. Love God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your soul. As you do, you will experience his love for you, which was always there, by the way, on a much deeper and more satisfying level. And when you experience God’s love, it satisfies you completely.
Now that we got the first command covered: love God, how about we take a look at the second command: Love your neighbor as yourself. Well, that should be simple, do to others what you want to be done to you. If you don't want someone to steal from you, then don't steal from others. If you want someone to give you a gift, then give someone else a donation first. It should be easy, but you and I know it's not. Here's the trick if you are working on the first command to love God, the second command to love others will come naturally to you.
Let's sum it up as you prepare to celebrate this season on love: Love God and Love others and watch your life bubbling over with so much love coming back at you.