Sept. 12: “Love God with All Your Heart”
When the Bible refers to a person’s heart, it is not just talking about the muscular organ in our bodies that pumps blood. Kardia is the Greek word for heart and refers to a person’s whole being. In a biblical sense, giving God our heart means allowing God to work in the most private and protected areas of our lives. It also means surrendering to God our honest and raw emotions, both the positive and negative feelings, but also the deeper ones like passion and longing. Ultimately, to trust God with our innermost emotions is to give God the whole of our being.
Sept. 19 – “Love God with All Your Soul”
The word soul in Hebrew is nephesh, which has no contemporary equivalent. When we think about soul, we often think about the part of us that is separate from our bodies, that somehow separates from our bodies when we die and goes up to heaven. But in a broader sense, “soul” refers to the essence of our being, and encompasses our life’s purpose, meaning, and destiny. It is the part that contains our character, integrity, and everything that makes us uniquely us. To love God with our soul means we have perfect alignment of purpose and character, according to the way and will of God.
Sept. 26 – “Love God with All Your Mind”
Faith and reason are not contradictory. Religion and science, long considered opposites, are actually complementary. As Christians in the Wesleyan tradition, we believe that “reason” is one of three primary ways we interact with and understand the authority of scripture. Loving God with our minds also means allowing room for doubt and questions. Our minds, after all, have a finite capacity in terms of understanding an infinite God. So embracing mystery can be a worshipful acknowledgement of the grandeur and majesty of God.
Oct. 3 – “Love God with All Your Strength”
Paul’s letter to the Colossians tells us that whatever we do, we should do it for the glory of God. Every action, every moment of rest, every initiative we take, ought to be done through the filter of loving God and others. To do otherwise is to miss the mark, and it might even mean sin. The beauty of the Great Commandment is that it understands that none of these four aspects of our being (heart, soul, mind, and strength) can be offered to God in isolation. To give God our whole activity, it requires a matter of the will (mind) and purpose (soul) and passion (heart). God really requires (and deserves) everything we’ve got.
Oct. 10 – “Love Your Neighbor as Yourself”
This is simultaneously the easiest and hardest of the Great Commandment. It is one thing to love God, which we can render easier in our minds as simpler to do. But to love someone we can see, with consequences that we can more readily experience, that can be harder. Especially if that person is, in our minds, harder to love. But there is a reason that this is the ultimate conclusion of the Great Commandment. Loving others as ourselves is not only easier, but possible, when we love God with our whole being. It is the fruit that we can bear when our heart, soul, mind, and strength are right with God.