The Lord our God has given us four ways and means of loving him: with our heart, soul, mind and strength. Each person will have stronger or weaker or non-existent love in some of these areas. And so, we must ask, first, where is my love weak? And, second, what does it look like when I don’t love God with all the faculties he has given me?
In this post, I assume the Lord our God is the Trinitarian God of the Bible, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our love for God is a response to his first loving us as Christ became the propitiation, anger taker, for our sins (1 John 4:10).
First a brief definition of the sort of love each faculty produces.
- Love with the heart is an emotional response to Christ’s death for our sins.
- Love with the mind is intellectual or cerebral activity, thinking deeply about Christ as revealed in his word.
- Love with the soul is whole life orientated toward God, a life of 24/7 prayer.
- Love with the strength is to labour for Christ in love.
1. The Passive Possessive: love the Lord with heart and mind.
This person has fallen for Christ and thinks great thoughts about Christ, but lacks the strength of love to do anything active for Christ and is easily distracted by competing attractions.
2. The Ponderous Pietist: love the Lord with mind and soul.
With big thoughts of God and a life orientated to God in prayer, worship, study and reading, this Christian has a strangely cold heart and is listless when it comes to doing anything useful in the name of the Lord.
3. The Prayerful Producer: love the Lord with soul and strength.
The Christian activist, involved in all sorts of worthy causes, driven by a life orientated toward God, yet uneducated with respect to the great things of Christ, biblical history, systematic theology and careful exegesis, and so is lacking passion for God as God.
4. The Passionate Pioneer: love the Lord with strength and heart.
A big-hearted Christian, flat-out for the Kingdom, investing all her strength into projects for God. Theologically naive and so undiscerning when it comes to working out where to invest time and energy. With a lack of love fully focused on God, this person is scattered in her priorities.
5. The Plenary Person: whole being focused on God.
This person does not really exist, but it is our goal as believers. We aim to have a strong love for God based on a heart won for Christ by the death of Christ. For our whole life to be orientated toward God by have a living love nurtured in constant prayer and meditation. To possess a mind which is lovingly and fully engaged in the study and knowledge of Christ in his word. And to have every ounce of strength directed toward the things of the Kingdom of Christ.
Lord, that I might be complete in my love of you!