Several years ago, I read the book “Primal” by Mark Batterson. It was one of the most challenging books I’ve read. It expounds on Deuteronomy 6:5. It says, “And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength” (NLT). When you peel back all the layers of doctrines, rules, and traditions of Christianity, you will find this verse is the basis for a strong relationship with God.
Loving God with all our heart starts when we accept Him as our savior. In Luke 7, Jesus is approached by an immoral woman who weeps on His feet and then washes them with her hair. Everyone was in shocks as they watched this spectacle. Jesus used it as a teaching moment and said, “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Loving God flows from a heart that’s been forgiven.
Loving God with all of our soul goes beyond the affection we feel for Him. It draws us into a life that is devoted to Him like what described in Colossians 1:10. It says, “That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition]” (AMP). When we love with all of our soul, our lives reflect it.
Loving God with all of our strength is where I was really challenged in reading “Primal”. I realized that I had been neglecting the gifts that God had given me. I had been so afraid to fail that I never tried. I spent my time working on the first two portions of that verse, but not the third. While that’s good for my own growth, it does very little to help others in their relationship with God. Loving God with all of our strength means stepping out in faith, doing what we were called to do, and letting God do His part.
I Timothy 4:14 says, “Do not neglect the gift which is in you, [that special inward endowment] which was directly imparted to you [by the Holy Spirit] by prophetic utterance when the elders laid their hands upon you [at your ordination].” It takes more than loving God with all your heart and soul to follow what Jesus called the Greatest Commandment. It takes doing something with the gifts He’s given you. Don’t just keep them to yourself. Give them to the world and love God with all your strength.