“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:30)
HE IS OUR LIFE published week of JULY 25, 2021
According to Dictionary.com, a priority is the state or quality of being earlier in time, occurrence, etc. Priorities are important and we all have them. As believers in Christ, we are taught from a young age to “put God first” in our lives. We are taught to use our strength and time for the things that matter most in our lives. I immediately think of examples like my relationship with God, my family, and other people when I think of what matters most. Certainly, these are worthwhile and important but often times the semantics of “put God first” can lead to a works-based, weary and discouraged life for Christians.
Please note that Jesus did not say to “put God first” in Mark 12:30. He said to love God, “with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” According to Scripture, God is not another item on a long list of daily priorities. Nor is He merely of supreme importance in our lives – He is our life. He is to be the center of all that we do, say, think, believe, and feel. The illustration of the wheel serves us well as we think of Christ as the hub of life’s wheel around which all other priorities revolve like spokes.
There is an important distinction and difference in putting Christ at the top of a perpetual list, and Him being the list. It helps to understand what the words heart, soul, mind and strength mean in the Greek language of the New Testament: 1) heart: the center of all physical and spiritual life, the inmost part of a person; 2) soul: the seat of feelings, desires and affections; 3) mind: the faculty of understanding and the way of thinking and feeling; and 4) strength: one’s ability, force and might.
This commandment to love God fully and completely with every part of who we are is of utmost importance. We are to love Him from our core all the way out. He determines what we feel, desire, and have affection for. He controls the way we think and how we understand things. He is the source of our abilities, force and might. He is not a priority. He is much more than that, and cannot be compared to anything else in life. This is what it means to love God.
“Dear God, please forgive me of being guilty of ranking You on my life’s to-do list. You are not merely one of many daily duties I perform. You are so much more than that. I truly desire to love You the way You deserve to be loved – with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. Please enable me to love You like that and continue to work in my life to make me more like you. Deepen my love and devotion to You as You change my heart. Thank You for saving me from my sins and giving me abundant life in Your Son Jesus. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”