“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.” – Deuteronomy 6:5
Deuteronomy 6:5 is the “all-command,” because of the three-fold “all” — “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.” (ESV). There is no room here for divided affections or allegiance. As Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24). Throughout the Bible, this command is continually held up as the pinnacle of what the Christian life is to be centered around (along with loving our neighbors as ourselves). Jesus confirmed this in the Gospels when He answered the questioning of the scribes in Mark 12:30: “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.”
Loving God with our hearts and minds seems very practical and easy to understand. Loving usually has to do with matters of the heart and we all know that our minds must be continually reigned in if we are to align our thoughts and actions with His. But what does it mean to love the Lord with all of our strength or might?
When the question of strength comes up, the World’s Strongest man competition comes to mind. The World’s Strongest Man competition is about more than just force: it is about stamina, skill, tactics, training, and strategy. Every event is designed to push the strongmen to their absolute limits, challenging not only their physical strength but their agility and mental toughness too. One impressive event is the vehicle pull where vehicles such as trucks, boxcars, buses, and planes are pulled across a 100 ft course, by hand, in the quickest time possible. For us ordinary people, pulling a medium-sized dog out the door when it is raining is just about our limit.
But what about everyday life: To love God with all our strength means loving God with all of our energy. God has given all of us certain talents and abilities. You see, to love God with all of our energy, with all of our abilities, and with all of our spiritual gifts, means serving the Lord in whatever way we can. It means that when we’re using all that energy to do our very best at our job or in our studies, we’re pleasing God. Philippians 2:13 (MSG) says, “That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.” Psalm 68: 28-35 expands on the reality that energy, power, and strength come from God. This psalm ends on a note of confidence as David proclaims that “…the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!” (v.35). David prays, ‘Summon your might, O God. Display your power, O God, as you have in the past.” (v.28). David knows from his own experience that God’s power is more than enough for all his needs.
Will you choose to love God with all your strength, all your energy, and all of your being? Start today by thanking God for your specific talents and abilities, and asking how we can use them to glorify Him.
- How would you rate your level of spiritual energy today?
- What can we do this week to increase our level of spiritual energy?