The thoughts I am sharing in today’s blog were stimulated by a devotional written by Pastor Rick Warren based on Mark 12:30.
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mk. 12:30, NKJV)
We are to love the Lord in all of the four ways mentioned in the passage. I’m sure you have recited this verse many times without really thinking specifically about each way we are required to love the Lord and what it entails. Are you and I loving the Lord in all four ways?
You have each been wired to love and worship God in one of these four ways more than the other three. Because of this, you can tend to go overboard in that area to the detriment of the others. Here is an opportunity to do some self-assessment to become more aware of your predominant tendency and the need to bring this predominant approach into balance with the other three.
Pastor Rick Warren expounds on the major activity involved in each of the four ways of loving God as follows:
Loving with your heart – talkative/communicator
Loving with your soul – feelings/emotional
Loving with your mind – thinker/loves the Word
Loving with your strength – doer/takes action
Operating in all four love modes helps us to be balanced in showing our love to God and to others. Let’s look at each in turn and the potential negatives if we fail to strike a healthy balance. For the most part, the thoughts that follow are my own. Remember to self-assess as we go through each approach.
Loving with all Your Heart
The talker must learn to listen and think. In their zeal to communicate about God and with God, these individuals may not listen sufficiently to be sensitive to the needs of others. They usually feel the need to speak out even when it is a time to be quiet. These are the persons who will tend to have one-way communication with God. They don’t wait to hear what God or others have to say. They may miss the ‘still small voice’ as this requires quietness. They also tend to speak before thinking. Not each thing that comes to our minds must be spoken. There are some things that God requires us to meditate upon in our hearts rather than speak it out. These persons may not only lack discernment of when to speak but also how much to say. In a prayer meeting, these are the persons who will take over the meeting, giving little room for others to pray. I heard someone say, “God gave us one mouth and two ears so we should listen twice as much as we speak.” It requires great self-control to bring our tongues into subjection to our spirit as we are told in James 3:5-10.
Loving with all Your Soul
The feeler is very compassionate and empathetic. These persons have to be careful not to follow their feelings as these are fickle and can’t be trusted. Those who love with their soul mainly, must be guided by the Word rather than following the lead of their feelings. The scriptures tell us the importance of having self-control. We must allow wisdom to reign. Many times their compassion allows others to take advantage of them, particularly those who prey on the kind heartedness of Christians. Another potential weakness of those who love with all their soul is that they sometimes mistakenly equate being passionate about something with walking in God’s purpose. If I am passionate about it, it must therefore be God’s will. The Lord wants our obedience and discipline. It is not all the time that we will feel passionate about the things we are called to do. It will take sacrifice, which is what makes it so special (see Romans 12:1). So, we can’t do things just because we feel to or not do things just because we feel that if we are not excited about it then it can’t be from God.
Loving with all Your Mind
This is my predominant way of worshipping and loving God so I can speak out of my own experience. The thinker is in love with God’s Word. Those who love with all their mind meditate upon God’s Word day and night. They are continually assessing themselves against God’s Word. They allow the Word of God to read them. They revere the Word of God and guard it jealously. They line up everything against God’s Word. There are 4 potential tendencies thinkers must guard against. 1) Being hearers only and not doers. 2) Being judgmental of others. Having a critical spirit of others because they do not abide by God’s Word. 3) Thinkers are very in-tune with their thoughts. They have to be discerning of the source of their thoughts. They have to ensure that they allow the Word they love so much to transform them by the renewing of their minds not just read the Word for intellect and knowledge. They need to allow the Word to give them wisdom and understanding also, so that they can give good counsel. They need to recognize that the enemy can bring deceptive thoughts so they always need to test their thoughts against the truth of God’s Word. 4) Not speaking when they ought to. In this aspect, those who love with all of their mind are the opposite of those who love with all of their heart. They are most comfortable writing down their thoughts rather than speaking their thoughts. God gives them much wisdom as they meditate upon His Word but they tend to keep it to themselves rather than communicating publicly what God has revealed to them even when God requires it. They need to pray as Paul requested, “and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, …….. that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak (Eph. 6:19-20).
Loving with all Your Strength
Some versions use the word ‘might’ rather than ‘strength’. Those who love the Lord with all their might are those who are always busy putting things into action. They are the ones who get things done. They may mistake all of this busyness for God as having a relationship with God. However, they are not one and the same thing. They have a tendency to act on impulse out of their zeal for getting things done and do not spend the time to seek God diligently before launching out. There is also a tendency to do things in their own strength because they usually are gifted with abilities and skills but they do not necessarily have the leading of the Holy Spirit in the use of these gifts. They need to slow down and take the time to seek God’s face for His direction or they can waste time, money and effort – all valuable resources over which God expects us to be good stewards. The Word says, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (Zec. 4:6).
Did you identify your love propensity? There is nothing wrong with having a propensity to love the Lord in one of the four ways mentioned in Mark 12:30. God wired you that way. You must, however, be aware of the drawbacks associated with your love mode and seek to bring it into balance with the other three. It is when all four come together in balance that we are giving God the love, and by extension the worship, that is pleasing to Him. So, choose today to work on all 4 areas – love Him with ALL your heart (your appropriate communication), with ALL your soul (your emotions & feelings balanced with wisdom), with ALL your mind (your knowledge and revelation of His Word), and with ALL your strength (your spiritually directed action).