We have finally arrived at the last part of this particular series. We’ve talked about how to love God with all our hearts. We’ve talked bout loving Him with all our soul. Last week, we went over how to love Him with our minds. Today, we get to what is perhaps the most challenging one for me to describe.
How do you love God with all your strength?
On the surface, I thought this was going to be a fairly easy one to write about. I had this mental vision of holding on to Him like someone holding on to some sort of anchor point in the midst of a great turbulence. Kind of like in the moview when you see someone clinging to a pole or something as a tornado tries to drag them off. But I realized that this is in incomplete picture.
My fear is that I will come across as though I’m suggesting that we cling blindly to a belief regardless of anything we learn. That is most certainly not what I’m after. I don’t want to condone blind faith.
What I do want, however, is to somehow get across that the strength with which we love God should be based on our current beliefs and experience and that these beliefs should not be simply abandoned any time they are challenged. I think a recent post on the Parchment and Pen blog does a great job of explaining what I’m trying to convey here.
In his post, Michael Patton describes three aspects of faith. First was the content of our faith, or what it actually is that we believe. A propositional aspect. Such as, “I believe God created the universe.” Second was more related to last week’s post. This was where I wrote about the more cerebral, rational, reasoning aspect of our relationship with God. And the last area described a trusting of our beliefs which should be based on our reasoning.
So, I guess, to love God with our strength would be to hold to our beliefs and be confident that they are true based on our desire to know God (heart), our life and being (soul) and our intellect (mind). When confronted with challenges to our beliefs, we should do our due diligence to verify the contrary arguments without simply and easily throwing them aside.
Many times, we will likely be challenged in what we believe. Often, those challenges will seem like they make sense. But we have to dig in, persevere and test these contrary arguments against what we already know. Notice, I didn’t say what we already believe as that would end up becoming a circular argument.
But, if you’ve done your research and are convinced that Jesus was a real, historical person and that the stories about Him were told by real, historical people and someone tries to argue against Christianity…start with what you already know and work from there. They may be trying to lead you to believe He didn’t exists by trying to cast doubt on the Bible. However, if you’ve already done your homework and are sure He lived, use that as your starting point to re-discover if you believe the biblical accounts. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Likewise, if you’re already convinced, based on throrough research, that God truly exists, use that as a basis for studying whether or not Jesus truly redeemed us. There are many examples and combinations of things, but hopefully you get the idea.
I’m not sure I’m presenting this the way I understand it in my own head. But, hopefully this makes sense at some level.
Grace, love and peace.