“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your SOUL…” Luke 10:27
We often associate loving the Lord with our hearts, but understanding what it means to love the Lord with all our soul can be more difficult to understand. In Deuteronomy, Moses introduces this idea as part of the Shema, a centerpiece of Jewish culture and a prayer spoken every morning and evening.
In Hebrew, the “soul” was better understood as a person’s being, meaning the part of us that is eternal. Others have explained the soul as the center of a man’s personality, essentially their identity. So this begs the question: what exactly does this mean, and how do we love the Lord with all our souls, with the very core of who we are?
1. Embrace your personality.
God created us uniquely, but too many of us spend our days wishing we were like other people. Psalm 139:13-14 say, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.” One way you can love the Lord with all that is within you is to recognize and embrace that when He made you, He made something good, someone unique. You can embrace, act, and respond to that goodness by being satisfied and maximizing exactly how He designed you.
2. Lead with your strengths.
God has given each of us a unique set of strengths and circumstances, and we have a job, command, and calling to steward those well. 2 Kings 22:2 describes King Josiah this way: “He did right in the sight of the Lord and walked in all the way of his father David, nor did he turn aside to the right or to the left.” To put this into modern day context, Josiah would probably test pretty high in Belief, Command, and Focus in the StrengthsFinder list. God had placed him as King. He took the job seriously, grew in leadership, and acted in that strength, and as a result, the Lord spared the people of Israel from consequences for a time. One man acting in the strength God gave him changed the tide of a nation.
2 Kings 23: 25 says, “Before him there was no king like him who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him.” David may have been a man after God’s own heart, but Josiah was a man and a king who loved the Lord and followed him with all his heart AND soul, with everything in Him. It changed the way he led and lived.
3. Serve with your gifts and talents.
Deuteronomy 10:12 says, “Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” Part of loving the Lord with all your soul is serving Him, and what better way to do that than with the gifts and talents He has blessed you with. When you realize that how the Lord has wired you is a gift and your use of those gifts is worship, you will learn to love Him more and in turn want to serve others.
If our heart is the seat of our emotions, our soul is the seat of our self that will live forever in eternity. We can spend our lives trying to figure out who we are and how we fit into the grand scheme of this world, or we can practice loving the Lord with all our souls and by doing so know exactly what we are here to do – make an impact for eternity. C.S. Lewis said it best, “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you will get neither.”
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Written by First Dallas Staff