Monday, April 11, 2005

LOVE GOD WITH ALL OF YOUR BEING AND HE WILL SAVE YOU.

The Bible says that a man is to love God with all of his being. Jesus says it is the foremost commandment to love God with all of your heart, breathe, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). The word for "heart" refers to the seat of human emotion. This part of man stands in contrast to the "mind", which relates to the thinking part of man. The "soul" is a word for life or breathe and John 10:15 shows the common thought where Jesus says, "and I lay down my life for the sheep." The last of the four words in the great commandment is "strength" which refers to the physical force, might, or power in a man. Thus man is to love God with emotion and intellect; with all of his breathe and strength. These words describe the love for God that involves the complete man.

It is the complete man that is to seek and walk with the Lord. A just mind and kind heart are also necessary in our dealings with man. I recently preached from Micah 6:8 where the prophet says it is good to, "do justice", "love kindness," and "walk humbly with your God." There are some parallels here to the great commandment. The word for doing "justice" means to judge, or discern as when a judge decides between right and wrong. To do justice requires the operation of the intellect in man. This parallels with the great commandment to love God with all of your mind. And secondly, the prophet says to "love kindness" which calls for compassion. The difference here in Micah from the great commandment is that these things have to do with relating to our fellow man. When a man acts this way towards his fellow man, it pleases God. This is similar to what the Proverb says: "do not let kindness and truth leave you;" (Pro. 3:3). Micah then says it is good to walk humbly with God. Anyone who wishes to walk with God must come to Him with reverence and awe. The people of Israel had become corrupt in their dealings with men and it spilled over to harm their relationship with God. They arrogantly approached God because they did not love kindness or do justice. Only when the heart and mind are right can a man walk humbly with the Lord.

The prophet Hosea says, "Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord...." (Hosea 10:12). The mind should be just and the heart kind when one prepares to seek the Lord. Sowing and reaping are the human activity of planting seed and gathering the harvest to support oneself. The farmer's sowing in the spring ought to be done right or just (e.g. do honest labor) and his reaping in the fall should be done with kindness, as in having consideration for the poor. A man conducts himself in this because he seeks the favor of God. In this, God is pleased and He does "rain righteousness" (an allusion to salvation) on you.

Does this emphasis on how man is to act, discourage faith in God? Certainly not! The Proverb says, "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart. And lean not on your own understanding" (Pro. 3:5). It's true that man chooses, by the exercise of his will, to be just and kind toward men, and to worship the Lord with all of his being; but his reliance and trust for salvation must be in God. Man is called to devote his entire being to loving, seeking and worshipping God because he knows that God alone has the power to save. - Dan Mayfield

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