And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 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 12:29-30
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. -- Matt. 6:21
The more that I ponder what God has commanded us, the more I see that there is a priority in love that sets the course for all of life. If I love God with all my heart, then every decision and step of my life thereafter will be made to honor and protect my love for my Lord. Anything that God loves, should be a love of mine. What he hates, I should hate, and not allow into my heart. Proverbs 6:16-19 offers insight into what's on God's "Hate List."
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. -- Proverbs 4:23
Any other love in my life - people, places or things - must take a back seat to my love for God. If a friend or loved one asks me to compromise my relationship with God and his word, I should respectfully but firmly decline. Consider Joseph's response to his boss' flirtatious wife..
There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? -- Gen. 39:9
Any doubts about who came first in Joseph's life?
Loving God With All Your Mind
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. -- Isaiah 26:3
If our minds were suddenly audited, what would the results show? What do we think about most? Where does our imagination run off too? And what do we tend to feed our minds? What do we read, what do we watch, what do we search the web for? Would the audit reveal that we truly love God with all of our mind?
For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. -- Psalms 107:9
Do we hunger after God more than our favorite meal? Do we long for him more than our next leisurely vacation on sandy beaches? More than a promotion or retirement?
Loving God With All Your Strength
(A Psalm of David.) Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength. -- Psalm 29:1
I see “strength” here as anything that involves our physical and mental abilities. Our time, our back, our skills, our talents, and our sweat. Our strength can be in lifting heavy boxes, calculating mathematical formulas, cooking excellent dishes or fixing mechanical issues. Wherever our strengths lie, do we honor God with them?
If we view the Fist Commandment to love the Lord our God above all else as a heavy burden of do's and don'ts, then we'll miss the blessings of the relationship. God is not a killjoy; He is a loving Father who only wants the best for us, and richly blesses obedience.
O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever! -- Deut. 5:29