Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Love is at the heart of everything God ordained for our lives. It is the greatest…
Heart refers to the very center of all operations of human life. It is also known as the home of the personal life, and because of that, the heart causes you to be designated wise, pure, upright and righteous, pious and good, etc. The heart is the seat of conscience, which is naturally wicked. That’s why it is written that with our hearts we believe and are justified. We see in scripture that there were many people’s hearts that were hardened. Our hearts are what drives us towards our likes and dislikes, our desires and fears. Where do you find your heart driving you today?
Soul (or spirit) refers to the “ruah” (Hebrew) or the “pnuema”; the wind or breath of life. It also denotes the rational, immortal soul by which a man is distinquished. In certain scriptures, it designates the divine nature.
Strength obviously refers to the your physical energy or intensity. Another way to say it is that strength is the power to induce (or cause to do) the taking of a course of action or the embracing of a point of view by means of argument or entreaty.
Wouldn’t you choose “the greatest” rather than “good enough” or “ok”?
There are three aspects to your life here on this earth; your heart or mind, your soul or spirit, and your strength. All three of these work together to make your life what it is. But here is the thing about God’s will for our lives in comparison to what we find within ourselves day to day. God longs for and demands unity in every area of our lives. He expects unity for our bodies, he looks for it in his church, and he has already established it in his kingdom. How does that translate to those three areas in your life? How does your mind or heart compared in unity to what your soul or spirit wants, and in regards to what you actually do every day?
When I read this section of scripture, I see a lifestyle that naturally reflects Jesus in everything it does. Word, deed, thought, attitude, habit, and desire all point towards a God who is creator, redeemer, and Lord. But I have to admit that I don’t see that fully in the lives of church folk nowadays. Love defined in 1 Corinthians produces fruit of patience, kindness, protection, trustworthiness, hopefulness, and perseverance. It does not produce envy, boasting, pride, rudeness, selfishness, anger easily brought on, record of wrongdoing, delight in evil, or failure.
Love for the Lord and a lifestyle and mindset that reflects such a decision produces a life that is holy, separated from the world and it’s desires, and righteous. I just finished a book this week, and a passage in it speaks clearly to that last word. Righteousness is so often defined by us as a life that avoids as many “wrongs” or sins as possible. But, righteousness, as defined by God through study of his word, is more accurately defined as a life that purposely does things right. As a people who appreciates and holds to the thought that we are free in Christ, we need to understand the level of freedom we are entitled to when we hold to doing right things as prescribed by God on a day to day basis. So often we try and weight our heart’s reason with God’s purpose in the situations we go through. But God, knowing and perceiving endless options and details, already has worked out the outcome for his and our good purpose for every given situation. All we have to do is obey blindly, and see what God will do.
Remember, God has “the greatest” in store for you, and not “good enough”.
Here’s what the rest of our text says…
When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers; to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name.
1 Corinthians 13 ends by saying that three things remain….faith, hope, and love….but the greatest of these is love. The first fruit of the Spirit is love. The greatest commandment quoted by Jesus was to Love God, then your neighbor as yourself, and even said that all the Law hang on those two commands. 1 John says that God is love and if you don’t have it, you don’t know God. God’s love for us caused his action of sending Jesus, as spoken in John 3:16. Jesus instructs us in Matthew 5:44 to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. 1 John again says that we love because he first loved us.
It’s time right now for you to embrace God’s love in it’s most raw form. His love is right there and in your face right now. His love is pulling your heart, soul, and strength towards him even right now. It’s his love and devotion that whispers in your ear as you make decisions and live day by day. His love, even now, is preparing a place for your eternity. But, even better than just a “one day reward” that we will receive, he’s prepared to mess your life up in such a way that you’ll never look back unless you’re pulling another soul from the mire you came from. His love, right now, is asking your eyes to focus on him and not on others. The only thing you have to do is decide…..yes, Lord!!!