Luke 10:27 "He answered:" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind...'"
How do you love the Lord with all your soul? We need to determine the answer to this because it is one of the four things Jesus said we need to do to love God completely.
We love the Lord with all our soul by living a life of faithfulness to all that the Lord has required of us. While loving the Lord with all our heart has to do with affection, loving the Lord with all our soul has to do with devotion.
The soul is the part of us that defines who we are. The essence of the biblical definition of the soul means life, personality, the inner self, and our identity. It's where we make our decisions and choices that ultimately decide our lifestyle and behavior. Think of the soul as the "core you."
To love the Lord with all your soul means to love Him in the way we live, in the choices we make, and in the behavior and lifestyle we adopt.
Here are three predominant ways to love God with all our soul:
1. Love the Lord with all your soul by making godly choices.
Our lives are the sum of the choices we make. Our choices show what we are committed to, reflecting our core values, defining us, and displaying our lifestyle before the world.
Choices flow from what we treasure most. We do what we value. If we treasure our relationship with the Lord, our choices will mirror the treasure.
Ask yourself: How do I spend my money? What do I do with my time? What kinds of things do I read? What programs do I watch? What do I do for entertainment? Where do I go for relaxation? What things give comfort in difficult times? What kind of friends do I have?
These results demonstrate how we are loving God with all our soul.
2. Love the Lord with all your soul by pursuing obedience to His Word.
John 14:15 "If you love me, you will obey what I command."
Love is demonstrated. When we keep His commandments, when we live by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God, we are tangibly expressing our love for the Lord.
I've been happily married for over 37 years. In those 37 years, I have made decisions based on love that I did not feel like making, but I did it anyways. I am obedient to the covenant that I made 37 years ago to unconditionally love whether I feel like it or not.
In the Kingdom, obedience usually comes first and feelings second. Sometimes we will not feel like loving God, but we do it out of love for God, nonetheless. That's why this second part of the First Commandment is vital.
3. Love the Lord with all your soul by pursuing a life of humility in attitudes and speech.
Embracing humility is the stage to express our love to the Lord. Jesus taught us how to love from a place of meekness, serving us unto death.
"Meekness is power and privilege under control. It speaks of restraint in the use of power except to promote love. Meekness is not to be confused with weakness which is the absence of strength." Mike Bickle
This meekness is expressed most dynamically in our attitudes and speech. What we say and how we say it enhances or quenches our ability to love the Lord by the power of the Spirit. Wrong speech will ultimately affect our spiritual lives and work against our love for the Lord.
Matthew 12:34 "For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks."
Proverbs 18:21 "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."
When Jesus is our Great Treasure, our affections are captured. This is how we love God with all of our hearts.
When our affections are captured, choices become god-centered, and a lifestyle of humility and godliness is born. This is loving God with all your souls.
Until next time. Blessings! - P. Greg