Heart, Soul, Mind & Strength – Part 2
Last week, I began to break down these concepts from Luke 10:27 and I got as far as talking about what it would me (to me, anyway) to love the Lord our God with all your heart. But that was only one of four ways Jesus told us we should love Him. So, let’s continue where we left off and see if we can wrap this up.
The next way we can love God is with our soul. Like last time, I do want to make the distinction between these four “ways” of loving the Lord as opposed to the two “parts” of being human which would be 1) our material, coporeal bodies and 2) our non-corporeal, invisible spirit (or soul). Due to the fact that this passage refers specifically to the soul, we have to be careful that we don’t get confused and begin to the think that these four items refer to the different aspects of what makes a person. Again, these are just different ways, or perspectives, on how we can demonstrate or realize a love for God.
That said, how does one love God with all ones soul? To answer that, we should take a look at what our soul is. As I understand it, the soul is a large part of who we are as individuals. Yes, it is the non-corporeal, unseen, intangible part of our being, but how does that relate? It would seem that our soul has a great deal to do with how we interperet, respond/react to, internalize and perceive the information we collect through our corporeal, material bodies via our five senses.
When it comes to our material selves, all we really have is a mechanism that is subject to input from these five senses. From there, what we do with that information has more to do with our soul. Our bodies can see a painting and receive input of the various colors and shapes in the artwork, but it is our soul that “interprets” that painting so that we find it pleasing or not. I think that one way to look at it is this…our bodies are what we are and our souls are who we are.
I say that with a bit of hesitation as I’m sure there will be some philosophers out there who will say that this is an oversimplification. And perhaps it is. But, hopefully this illustration will at least suffice to get us on the same page when it comes to how we love God with our soul.
If our soul is who we are at the deepest, most intimate level, then loving God this way requires a total and complete submission and trust in Him. This is distinguished from our hearts (desires) in the sense that this covers those times in which we know we must obey God even when we don’t really want to. During those times when our desire is to do evil, if we have truly submitted to God completely, this will help us to avoid sin when sin is what we desire to do.
There is a good deal of faith and trust involved here. We may not understand why we should do something or not do something, but because we are totally soul’d out (pun intended) to God, we take a step of faith and do what He desires though we don’t understand it. We recognize that our finite, human, fallible perspective is nothing compared to God’s omniscience and omnipotence.
Total submission to God means that, in everything we do and everything we perceive, we at least attempt to see God’s glory in it. Everything we are is surrounded by the fact that God created us, that we were created in His image and that everything we have is a result of His sovereign Will. It means being thankful for the blessings we have and being peaceful in times of tribulation, knowing that He is in control.
Although I haven’t gotten into the mind and strength part of this yet, I can’t help but think that this is one of the more difficult things of the four. It is against our sinful nature to submit so completely. It is so easy, during hard times, to feel downhearted, cast blame, give up, despair, etc. It’s not easy to rest in His sovereignty.
It also can be difficult to recognize our own responsibilities in a situation. For instance, if we try to fix a problem, are we not trusting God? Or is it His will that we take this active role in resolving a given problem? It reminds me of that story about the guy on his roof during a flood who kept refusing help from boats and helicopters because he was waiting for God to help…but God was helping by sending boats and helicopters to rescue him.
What it may come down to is more about attitude than action. I believe we need to take responsibility for difficult times and have an active role. But our attitude should be one of thankfulness and grace rather than despair or anger or bitterness, etc. If we don’t have that peace, then our soul is not attuned to God and His love for us.
Apparantly, I won’t have time to get to the mind, so that will come next week. But for now, ask yourself if you are totally soul’d out for God. Are you giving Him everything you are? Do you look at everything from the lens of His Will? Do you submit to His Will even when you don’t feel like it?
Love the Lord your God with all soul, with everything that makes you you. Let it show through your actions and attitude. When you love God with all your soul, the rest of the world can see it…and through you, they should be able to see Him.
Grace, love and peace.