Summary: Why is it that so few seem to understand Christ’s intention in the greatest commandment? Worshiping the Lord involves growing in maturity in four key areas.
How to Love the Lord (Mark 12:28-30)
"What commandment is the foremost of all?" Jesus answered, "The foremost is, ’Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all our heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.”
Worshiping the Lord involves the whole of one’s heart (emotions, feelings, passions); soul (life, lifestyle and perspective); strength (power, abilities, vigor); mind (intellect, decisions and mental capacities)
Illustration: Familiarity and intimacy are not the same. Each has a value in life, certainly in married life, but one is no substitute for the other. If one is confused for the other, we have the basis for major human and marital unrest. In marriage, familiarity is inescapable. It happens almost imperceptibly. Intimacy is usually hard to come by. It must be deliberately sought and opened up and responded to. Familiarity brings a degree of ease and comfort. Intimacy anxiously searches for deep understanding and personal appreciation.
Gordon Lester, Homemade, Vol. 4, No. 11.
1. Grow in your love for the Lord with all your heart:
A. Receiving - The acceptance of ideas and motivations
B. Responding - The willingness to comply with an idea
C. Valuing - The attaching of a belief in something because of it worth, usefulness or credibility
D. Organization - The ability to bring to bear several values into a set of priorities
E. Characterization - To gain a reputation by identifying closely with the specified value of the Bible
Failure to learn grow affectively (in our heart, in our attitude, in our ethos) tends to make one lose the passion for God.
Illustration: Robert Robinson, wrote the famous song, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. Tune my heart to sing Thy Praise." One day while riding in a coach he heard the woman sing the words, "Prone to wander Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love." He asked the woman to stop singing the song because it hurt his head. She said, "Why would you not want to listen to such an inspiring hymn?" To which he replied, "Because I wrote those words and now look at the drunken condition I am in." He died a penniless drunk.
The Bible says, "If anyone thinks he stands let him take heed lest he falls.
2. Love the Lord with all your soul by learning to grow in Christ in your spiritual life: (2 pet 1:5-9)
A. Faith - The confident persuasion that God will do what He says He will do and acting on that conviction
B. Goodness - Virtue, excellence and kindness
C. Knowledge - Growing in one’s knowledge and appliction of the Bible
D. . Self-control - The ability to discipline oneself for the purpose of godliness
E. Perseverance - The ability to continue steadfastly in the faith through difficult situations
F. Godliness - Reflecting the attributes of God in one’s personal life and relationships and ministries
G. Love - An unselfish concern that freely accepts others and seeks their good
People who are not growing spiritually tend to regress and live more by the power of the flesh.
Paul wrote, "Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh sets its mind against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh for these are in opposition to one another so that you cannot do the things that you please." (Gal 5:16,17)
3. Love the Lord with all your mind:
A. Knowledge - The ability to recall, restate, and identify information from a previous exposure of the truth
B. Understanding - The ability to express in one’s own words a comprehension of the facts
C. Application - The ability to put knowledge into use in a practical and measurable manner
D. Analysis - The ability to understand reasons why things work as they do or fail to operate successfully
E. Synthesis - The ability to put pieces of truth together to form creative solutions from problem situations
F. Evaluation - The ability to assess the worth, value or suitability of something using reliable criteria
People who do not grow in their capacity to think are often seen as gullible, simpletons or intellectual light-weights.
Jesus said, "If you continue in my word, then truly you are my disciples indeed. And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31,32)
4. Love the Lord with all your strength:
A. Perception - To apprehend the skill by closely observing an example of the desired proficiency, competency or adequacy
B. Set - The ability to set one’s mind, will and body in a state of readiness to act skillfully
C. Guided response - The ability to act under supervision in an effective manner as directed