How To Love The Lord Your God: What Jesus Said To His Followers

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Published by Kimberly Wall


Co-Founder, Disciple Group Leader, Author

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The first of the ten commandments in the Old Testament instructs us to love God above all else. How do we love the Lord, our God, according to the Holy Bible?

The answer can be found in Mark 12:30, where Jesus says that you should “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” To love the Lord our God is not a mere sentiment or intellectual exercise; it requires a heartfelt commitment and active participation in our daily lives.

Loving God also means putting him first in every aspect of our lives. It’s about surrendering ourselves to him completely and trusting him wholeheartedly. What does this imply, and how can we live by this commandment?

Love The Lord Your God: Biblical Reference And Meaning

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

— Mark 12:29–31

When Jesus was asked about the first and greatest commandment[1], he responded, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37), emphasizing that this is the “great and first commandment.” This highlights the priority of our love and devotion to God above all else. Loving God requires more than just an emotional response; it also involves using our minds to understand his will for us.

Furthermore, Jesus emphasized the interconnectedness of love for God and love for others. He stated, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). Our love for God should overflow into our relationships, leading us to treat others with kindness, compassion, and respect.

This passage emphasizes that our relationship with God is inseparable from how we treat others. Our love for God must translate into how we interact with those around us. Jesus said that “on these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” By following this great commandment, we will be granted eternal life.

Ahavah: Steadfast Love

The Hebrew word for “love” used in Mark 12:30 is ahavah, which means steadfast love. It is not just an emotional feeling but a deep commitment to God. To love God with all our hearts means to have complete devotion and passion for him. To love him with all our souls means to surrender ourselves entirely to him.

Jesus affirmed this commandment as the greatest of all because it serves as the foundation of our faith. When we love God wholeheartedly, we will naturally obey his commands (John 14:15), seek his will above ours to strengthen our mind (Matthew 6:33), and trust in his goodness even when things don’t make sense, bringing peace to our soul (Proverbs 3:5–6).

Loving God with our whole being requires courage, passion, and a desire to follow him every single day. We can’t compartmentalize our faith or give only part of ourselves to God. He wants us fully committed to him because he knows that’s where true joy and fulfillment lie.

As Christians, we are called not just to believe in Jesus but also to be his disciples. This means putting aside our selfish desires and submitting to his will, even when it’s hard. It means loving others as he loves us with all our hearts (John 13:34), forgiving as he forgives us with all our souls (Ephesians 4:32), and serving others as he served us with all our minds (Mark 10:45).

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The Importance Of Loving God And Others

When we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, we are expressing a complete and total devotion to him. This means that we trust God’s word completely and have faith in his plans for us. We surrender ourselves to his will and seek his guidance in every aspect of our lives.

Building A Relationship With God

In today’s fast-paced world, where there are so many distractions vying for our attention, it can be easy to lose sight of what truly matters. However, by putting God first in our lives and reading the Bible, we can find peace of mind and soul amidst the chaos through Jesus.

When we prioritize our relationship with God through prayer and reading God’s word, it helps us stay grounded spiritually. These practices help us develop a deeper understanding of who he is, which allows us to trust him even more. By focusing on Jesus, we can renew our minds and souls and find peace in knowing that he knows what’s best for us.

Furthermore, prioritizing our relationship with God by reading the Bible and following in Jesus’ footsteps will also help us align our minds, souls, and desires with his will for us. When we seek his guidance before making decisions or taking action, it ensures that what we do is in line with his plans for us.

Loving Others As Ourselves

Loving others as ourselves is also an essential aspect of the commandment to love God, as stated in the Bible. It means that we should treat others with kindness, compassion, and respect, just as Jesus taught us to do so.

When we love others as ourselves with a mind focused on Jesus, it helps us build stronger relationships with a heart full of empathy and a willingness to lend a helping hand when they need it.

Moreover, loving others as ourselves also reflects our love for God. When we treat others with kindness and respect, it honors God and glorifies his name.

What It Means To Love The Lord Your God With Your Whole Being

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

— Proverbs 3:5–6

Prioritize Your Relationship With God

Loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind means putting him first in your life. It’s about having a deep and intimate relationship with him that goes beyond just going through the motions of religious practices.

To prioritize your relationship with God in your heart and soul, you need to make time for him every day. This can be done by setting aside a specific time each day for prayer and Bible study.

When you pray, pour out your heart and soul to God and share everything that’s on your mind. Be honest and vulnerable with him, knowing that he loves you unconditionally and desires to have a close relationship with you.

As you read the Bible, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and reveal new truths to you. Meditate on his Word throughout the day, letting it transform your thoughts and actions.

Walk In Obedience To His Commands

Loving God also means obeying his commands. Obedience should not be difficult for the one who loves God. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15). This doesn’t mean following a list of rules legalistically but rather living in accordance with his will for our lives, which should be embedded in our mind and soul.

To walk in obedience to his commands, we must first know what they are by studying the Bible regularly. We then need to apply them to our lives by making conscious choices that align with his teachings. This may involve sacrificing our own desires or preferences for the sake of obeying him.

Cultivate A Daily Habit Of Prayer

Cultivating a daily habit of prayer is essential for loving God wholeheartedly. It helps nourish our souls, renew our minds, and strengthen our faith.

Make it a priority to set aside time each day specifically for prayer to nourish your mind, soul, and heart. You can use devotionals or other resources as guides if needed, but don’t let them replace actually reading the Bible itself.

Use Your Talents And Abilities To Serve Him

Loving God with all your strength means using your talents and abilities to serve him. Everyone has unique gifts that can be used for the kingdom, whether it’s through serving in a ministry, volunteering in the community, or simply being a positive influence on those around you.

It’s important to remember that serving him not only benefits others but also nourishes your soul and sharpens your mind. Thus, we should strive to use our gifts and talents to glorify him.

Be intentional about seeking out opportunities to use your talents for his glory. Pray for guidance and ask him to show you where he wants you to serve. Keep in mind that everything you do should align with the teachings of the Bible. Remember to nourish your soul by doing what brings you joy and fulfillment in serving him.

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To love the Lord your God is to give him your all—heart, soul, mind, and strength. Loving God with all that we are is the foundation of our relationship with him.

As we strive to live by this commandment every day, let us remember that we do so out of gratitude for what he has done for us through his only son, Jesus Christ. It is not just about following rules or fulfilling obligations as Christians but about having a personal relationship with God. May our love for him grow deeper each day as we seek to know him more intimately.

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