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Published byHarold Bridgewater Modified over 8 years ago
One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’”
Holy Scripture demands that we love God with our entire being (Matt. 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34; Luke 10:25-28). This involves the whole of man’s four powers: his heart, mind, soul, and strength. While there is some overlap, each word has a distinct meaning.
Are we teaching our children to love the Lord with all their heart? The Greek word translated “heart” conveys several meanings. Literally, it refers to the blood pump of the body, and is thus regarded as the seat of physical life. Figuratively speaking, it also represents the center of one’s spiritual life.
Faith devoid of emotion is not true faith. Our Lord will not accept hearts that are dull (Matt. 13:13-15) and distant (Matt. 15:7-9). Empty, ritualistic service will not suffice (Matt. 6:7).
While all things must be done decently and in order (1 Cor. 14:40, 33), true worship is a heart-felt experience (Ps. 42:1-2; 84:2; 143:6; John 4:23-24). Old Testament prophecy repeatedly foreshadowed the joy of the Messianic age (Isa. 42:10-11; 54:1; 61:7, 10; Jer. 31:12; Zeph. 3:14-15; Zech. 2:10-11; 9:9).
Are we teaching our children to love the Lord with all their mind? The Greek word translated “mind” refers to one’s intellect, disposition, or thought. It includes the faculty of reasoning and reflection, comprehension and understanding.
Faith devoid of a solid intellectual foundation is not true faith. A lack of knowledge has always been an occasion of stumbling for the people of God (Isaiah 1:1-3; 5:13-14; Hosea 4:6). Ignorance is no excuse (Acts 17:30-31; Eph. 4:17-19; 1 Pet. 1:14-16).
Christ’s Covenant is a religion of the mind (John 6:44-45; Heb. 8:10; 10:15-17). Peter sought to stimulate his readers to wholesome thinking (1 Pet. 1:13; 2 Pet. 3:1-2). John said, “We know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true” (1 John 5:20).
Are we teaching our children to love the Lord with all their soul? The Greek word translated “soul” refers to one’s breath, life, or soul. Depending upon the context, different meanings are conveyed.
Sometimes, it simply refers to a person, with no distinction made between the inner and outer man. However, in recognition that man –composed of flesh and spirit, body and soul – enjoys a dual nature, the word also refers to the inner spiritual man. Here the meaning appears general.
Faith that does not encompass all of life is not true faith. Loving God and obeying his voice is the essence of life itself (Deut. 30:19-20; 32:44- 47; Eccl. 12:13-14).
Through obedience to the gospel, we die to the old man of sin and self, and are raised to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:3-7; 2 Cor. 5:17). After conversion, our life should be one of selfless service (Gal. 2:20), and reoriented focus (Col. 3:1-4).
Are we teaching our children to love the Lord with all their strength? The Greek word translated “strength” refers to one’s power or might. How are we using our God-given talents and abilities?
Faith devoid of energy is not true faith. As king Josiah served God with all his might (2 Kings 23:24-25; 2 Chron. 34:29-33), we must do the same (Eccl. 9:10; Rom. 12:9-13; Col. 3:22-25). Non-committal, wavering, half-heartedness is wholly unacceptable (Josh. 24:14-28; 1 Kings 18:20-21; Rev. 3:15-19).
Divine power is evidenced in the heavenly realm (2 Thess. 1:6-10; Rev. 5:11-14; 7:9-12), and may also be observed in the human realm, as we faithfully serve the Lord (Eph. 1:18-21; 6:10-17; 1 Pet. 4:10-11).
Nevertheless, humility is demanded. Though we serve God with all our strength, we must not depend upon our own might (Eccl. 9:10- 12; 1 Cor. 1:26-31). God provides renewed strength to those who faithfully wait upon Him (Isa. 40:27-31).
Children learn through verbal instruction and visual observation. Is the love of God reflected in our words and deeds?
Are we teaching our children on a daily basis? Do we remind them of the wondrous ways of God? Do we manifest reverential fear? Are we obedient to his Holy Word?
Is God’s love seen in our emotions and attitudes, intellect and beliefs, life and personality, might and ability? May our love for God grow with each passing day. May God bless us as we instill such love in the hearts of our children.
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