Last week, author Kristen Hogrefe shared with us how we can love God volitionally. This week, she wraps up this two-part series by explaining how we can love God with all our strength. If these posts have encouraged your walk with the Lord, please let us know by leaving a comment below.
In September, my church hosted a 5K to raise money and awareness for foster care. For those not familiar with running terms, that’s a little over 3 miles.
Running didn’t come naturally to me, but now, it’s a lifestyle I’ve learned to enjoy. My boyfriend, though athletic, hates running. But to his credit, he ran the race with me, adopted my pace, and even smiled for photos. He got out his comfort zone, and it meant so much to me.
Last time, we looked at loving God volitionally, which involves a choice or act of the will. In my case, my boyfriend chose to run even though he didn’t want to. In addition, he invested time and physical energy to show up and finish.
This example, though perhaps cheesy, brings me to another way we can love God: with all our strength.
Loving God through Our Actions
As author Gary Chapman explains in his book The Five Love Languages, physical touch is one of the primary ways people express and receive love. Although we can’t physically “touch” God, we can still love him through our actions.
In Scripture, we see examples of believers performing acts of service again and again.
- The Shunammite woman and her husband built an upper room for the Prophet Elisha so that he had a place to stay when he visited them (2 Kings 4).
- Martha opened her home to Jesus and served him dinner (Luke 10). For all the bad rap she gets for being too busy to simply listen like her sister Mary, Martha deserves credit for her hospitality and generosity.
- A widow gave everything she had to the temple treasury (Mark 12).
Of course, Jesus himself modeled service to others time and time again through miracles, washing his disciples’ feet, and ultimately dying on the cross.
No matter our situation, we all have varying degrees of physical ability. Some people can travel for mission trips or volunteer locally. Others serve behind-the-scenes doing preparation work no one seems to notice. For someone with limited physical ability, this action might look like a hand-written note of encouragement or even a whispered prayer.
The bottom line is that when we act to help others, we please God. When we love “the least” of the people who cross our paths, we’re loving him too (Matthew 25:31-40).
Loving God with Our Minds
During one of my friend’s weddings, the bride asked me to read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, which begins this way:
“Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments …”
That phrase, “the marriage of true minds,” sticks with me, because it suggests a unified purpose, set of values, and life focus. So too, when we love God with our minds, we’re saying we want to live “on the same page” with him.
Once again, Scripture sheds some light on what this unified mindset looks like:
- We are to bring “every thought” into “captivity” or obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
- We are to exercise humility, following Christ’s example (Philippians 2:5-8).
- We are to focus our thoughts on things that are excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).
- We are to guard our minds by not looking at something that will tempt us to stumble (Psalm 119:37).
- We are to study God’s Word, the “word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Sure, there will be days we fall short, way short. That’s why Paul wrote that the goal here on earth is not perfection but to “press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
Desiring to Love God More
When we seek to love God with our all, we love him with every part of ourselves. Preacher and poet Isaac Watts expressed this idea eloquently in his closing lines to the hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” He develops the idea of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as the ultimate love. How can our response be anything less than everything?
“Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.”
Lord, may I love you with all that I am, all that I have, and all I can be.
~ By Kristen of KristenHogrefe.com