Devotion #182

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Matthew 22:37-40 ESV

While our heart refers to our affections and our emotions, our soul refers to who we are. Our souls are our identity, our personality, our inner sense. It is the core of who we are.  It’s where our belief system lives, it influences the decisions we make, the lifestyle we choose, our behaviors. The soul is what integrates our parts, it is the gathering of it all together—our emotions, our mind, our strengths. These parts of us don’t exist separately, they exist together—and they are all pulled together by our soul. Our hearts influence our minds, our thinking influences our emotions—it’s all intertwined and tangled together by our soul.

So, loving God with all our soul is loving Him with everything we’ve got. We are to love God with all that we are. We are to love Him with our passions and desires, our thoughts and our actions. Everything. We are to love Him with how we talk, how we use our talents, how we interact with others, how we respond to challenges. Everything. Everything we do or say or think should be a display of our love for God.

When we put God first, when we love him with everything we’ve got, we are better able to love our spouse with all that we are. We will be able to love them longer and with a greater depth because our love for them is not contingent on anything they do; it’s not built on their performance and it doesn’t crumble at their weakness. Instead it is built on the unconditional and sacrificial love of our Savior. It isn’t superficial, but is instead stands on the foundation of the supernatural. When all that we are is focused on ourselves, our thoughts and desires are selfish and our actions will follow, but when all that we are is focused on Him, our thoughts and desires are selfless and loving.

Your marriage is a gauge for your love of God. It is the very evidence of your devotion to the Lord. Your spouse should experience the love of God through your every interaction. The way you speak to them and of them, the way you resolve conflicts and make decisions together, what you prioritize, how you spend your money—it should all represent God to a watching world. 

That’s quite a mark to hit. I’ve still got so far to go. But by the grace of the One whom I’m supposed to be loving with everything that I am, I grow increasingly toward that target every day. Because He loves me with a perfect love—the same perfect love He expects from me—He shows me where I miss the mark all the time so I can experience the victory that comes when I do get it right.

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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