“’The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this:
Hear, O Israel the Lord, our God, the Lord is one.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and
with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’”
Mk 12:29-30 (NIV)
One of the teachers of the law figuratively has Jesus in a corner. He asks the Master which is the most important of the commandments. This teacher happened to enter the temple court to hear Jesus’ answer to one of the Sadducees question about marriage in heaven.
As he heard the answer Jesus gave. The teacher posed his question. Jesus responded with the idea that we are to love the Lord with our entire being—heart, soul, and mind,and strength.
What did Jesus mean when he specifically mentioned our hearts? “The heart is the innermost center of the natural condition of man—the center of the bodily life, the reservoir of the entire life-power. “1
In today’s world, we have concern when we hear of someone having physical heart problems. As children of God, we also need to demonstrate care when we hear or suspect that someone has spiritual heart issues.
What about ‘soul?’ “(Heb. nepesh a ‘breathing’ creature; Gr. psuche ‘breath,’)
The Heb. Term may indicate not only the inner nature of man, but also his entire personality, i.e. all that pertains to the person of man.
The Gk. Term has the simple meaning of life; that in which there is life.” “It also has the meaning of the seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions.”2
From what I gather from this research is that our souls constitute our personalities. From time to time, we may have an event happen to us or someone we know that causes intent sadness. Or we might find great joy in an action taken by others. These emotions go deep into our beings—into our souls.
Jesus tells the teachers of the Law that we are to love God with all we have—even to the very center of who we are.
“What does the Master mean by ‘mind?’ The Guideposts Family Concordance tells us that the mind is the reasoning facility of an individual; memory; intent. (page 451) When I was in counseling several years ago, I learned that people hear and process information by running the data through various filters. A person’s life experiences determine which filters people use.
If we had traumatic experiences in our lives we react in one manner. If we have sweet memories about events, we respond in loving ways.
When we have Jesus in our minds, we learn to model Him in our reactions.
What about ‘strength?’ The Guideposts Family Concordance tells us that strength is power. (page 683) As I see it, our strength is not just about the physical. I have noticed my physical strength lessen over the past few years. I knew a young woman who took strength training a few years ago.
Strength is also about the spiritual fortitude we possess. We gain spiritual strength by spending time with Jesus through prayer, Bible study, and meditation. Also, we gain it through fellowship with like-minded believers.
Did you catch the adjective ‘all’ in Jesus’ response? All our hearts, souls, mind and strength. We are to love the Lord with All we are.
1. Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Moody Press © 1957, 1885, 1988 page 544
2. OPCIT page 1213