What does it mean to love the LORD with all your heart?

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Moses wrote, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deut. 6:4). And Jesus quoted this same verse in Mark 12:29-30.

In the Deuteronomy 6, the Hebrew word translated “love” means the “desire,” “affection,” and “inclination” of the heart. The word translated “heart” refers to the affections, feelings, and will (Ex. 31:6; 36:2; 2 Chron. 9:23; Eccl. 2:23). The word translated “soul” means the stimulating principle in man and includes his appetites and desires (Num. 21:5). The word translated “might” is from a verb meaning “to increase” and refers to the things that a man gathers during his life.

To love the Lord

Thus, to Love the Lord stresses that the believer’s relationship with God should be based on love. John the beloved wrote, “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). God was the initiator of love, for He “demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). It was divine love that created the plan of salvation in the beginning, and the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all worked together in perfect unity to bring it to reality (John 3:16; 2 Cor. 5:18–19).

The great purpose in a believer’s life is that he “should seek the Lord, if haply” he “might feel after him, and find him” (Acts 17:27). Sadly, most people are busy in laboring “for the food which perishes” (John6:27), for the water for which, when they drink, they will thirst again (John 4:13). They “do you spend money for what is not bread” and “wages for what does not satisfy” (Isa. 55:2).

For this reason, God calls for all that a man is and has—his mind, his affections, and in his capacity to do (1 Thess. 5:23). For the principle of love is not merely empty words but is shown in actions. For to love perfectly is to obey with all the heart (John 14:15; 15:10). Love is the fundamental principle of God’s law (Mark 12:29, 30). And obedience through God’s strength (John 15:5) is the acid test of love.

Humans are prone to make “all these [material] things” the main goal of their lives, in the vanishing hope that God will be merciful at the end and will overlook their sins and grant them eternal life. But that is not what the Bible teaches. Christ would desire us to set our priorities straight and make first things first. And He assures us that if we do, He will bless us by supplying all of our temporal needs “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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