“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your STRENGTH…” Luke 10:27
Culture often tells us that strength is paramount to character or compassion. We’ve heard the phrases, “survival of the fittest” and “only the strong will survive.” According to these philosophies, our strength is meant to ensure the best for me, myself, and I. But Jesus says differently. Jesus says our strength is meant to be a picture of our love for Him.
We have mentioned that the heart is the seat of our emotions, our soul the seat of our being or core of who we are, and our strength is the seat of our actions. All three go together to show us how to love the Lord with everything we are. When Moses originally gave these instructions in the Shema, he went on to say that we are to take these commandments to heart and talk about them when we sit, walk, lie down, and get up (Deut. 6:7). Basically, with every daily action we take, we are to respond and speak in a way that loves and obeys the Lord. So what does it really mean to love the Lord with all of our strength?
1) Recognize that strength comes from the Lord
Americans are known for being a nation on the go, a people who are constantly busy. It is no surprise that many of us can become drained quickly with work, kids’ schedules, and constant activity. What a relief to know that strength cannot be manufactured by us but only by the One who created all things.
We love the Lord best when we recognize that apart from Him, we are striving for nothing. When we operate in the strength God provides, we see a greater joy in the busyness, a purpose in the day-to-day, and a calling to use each step for His glory and to share the gospel with others. 1 Peter 4:11 says, “Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” Realizing that our strength comes solely from the Lord increases our dependence on Him, gives us a better understanding of His character, and encourages us to love Him more.
2) Realize that our actions should be a response to His love.
Too often we can confuse performing actions with actually loving the Lord. Because the Lord is after our hearts, He is after our actions as an overflow and response to His love, not as a way to earn His love. 1 John 3:18 says, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” When our strength is both a response to His love and a way to express our love, we see everything we do as for His glory – taking kids to school, playing in that football game, crunching numbers, helping our neighbor with yard work. Our actions then become a way to serve others, love those around us, and ultimately love the Lord.
3) Respond with a heart of obedience.
Deuteronomy 11:2 lists three results associated with loving the Lord with all of us: we will love Him more, walk in His ways, and hold fast to Him. Our response to God’s command to love Him with everything is to walk in His ways. Because how we feel and who we are often influence our actions, one of the greatest pictures of the gospel to those around you will be how you physically and publically act and respond. Walking in His strength will influence others. When we love Him, we will be obedient (John 14:15). We will walk in a manner worthy of our calling (Ephesians 4:1). When we commit to walking in His ways, we want to love and serve Him more and our strength is increased. Isaiah 40 says we will be able to run and not be weary, walk and not be faint.
Psalm 28 says that seeing the Lord as our strength allows us to trust Him with our hearts. It’s interesting that loving the Lord with our hearts affects loving Him with our soul and our strength. They are tied, which is why it is so important to make sure we are nurturing each area and bringing them under submission to Christ. Can you imagine how we would impact the kingdom if we lived every day loving Him with all of our heart, soul, and strength? Our God is powerful and is able to do “far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,” especially when we are fully surrendered to Him (Ephesians 3:20).
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Written by First Dallas Staff