Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5
I’d say these guys are pressing for that first place title with all their heart, soul and strength!
I was thinking through this concept of loving God with all your strength. I wondered what exactly is meant by that? What does that look like? How does it play out? Since then, the Lord has not only answered my question about that term, he has also placed more on my mind and heart about the fullness and far-reaching ramifications of this passage.
In the year following Jesus’ baptism and the Spirit’s descend on him (Matt 3:16), he was “led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil”.
If you’ve ever walked in sand for a long duration, you know it’s a work out that requires a fueled body. Walking in sand while fasting is a different world. It does things to the mind, spirit and body. Those challenges aside, an otherwise healthy body deals with a temptation towards despair when hunger and fatigue set in during hard times. In this case, the work out plus the fasting for 40 days is extreme by any definition. An awe-inspiring aspect of this situation is that Christ chose to leave the perfection of Heaven and chose to be led into this situation of intense physical challenge. AND, He was perfectly capable, (as satan knew full well) of changing His circumstances and providing for His own needs.
Instead, when Jesus was depleted of physical and emotional strength, He spoke seeds/words of truths from His father’s heart to combat His tempter. This was the habit He had. He chose to love His Father with His “all” including strength or lack there of, by keeping His focus on truths and His purpose.
To love Him with all of our heart, soul and strength means to love him with every part of our being, including every ounce of physical strength even in the midst of challenge and depletion. And even in those times when we have nothing left, our Lord promises to be our power. 2 Cor. 12:9
Although it’s easy to consider his ministry here on earth in its entirety for examples of this, His time on the cross is one I’ll add here. He was on the cross for approximately six hours while soldiers cast lots for His clothes and on lookers taunted Him during His agony. During his darkest hours, He chose to assure the guilty thief of a promised eternity with Him, care for His mother and ask the Lord to forgive each of us in our guilt.
We spend a lot of time following the lead of effective people. I want to follow the lead of the most effective person to walk the earth. With the gift of His indwelling Spirit, it’s possible to experience His lead and His strength in our weakness. A concept we won’t understand until we enter the gates of heaven, but one we can experience non-the-less.
Consider how the Lord has placed it on your heart to love Him. Is it through loving a family member or praying for the opposition when you feel victimized? Something to think about.