The most important command to all Christians is clearly defined in the Bible: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). Most of the time, we interpret this verse to say, “the most important thing is to love God a lot.” But that is not what the Bible says. It is broken down into those four categories, and it is done so for our good.
For the next month, we are going to focus our “Preparing for Worship” blogs around this most important Biblical command. As we prepare for worship on Saturday nights, we will examine the specifics of how God says to do it best. This week, our focus is on “strength.” How do we love God with all of our strength?
First, we must recognize what “strength” isn’t. This isn’t the casual use of “strength” speaking of our muscles. We aren’t being commanded to lift weights for Jesus. In the Old Testament account being referenced here (Deuteronomy 6:5) the root word means something like “very.” In context then, “strength” means to use whatever temporal resources we have at our means. Whatever temporal tools are at our disposal should be employed in our love of God. While there are an infinite amount of possible means, let’s focus here on three “strengths” that everyone could use in loving God: time, technology, and people.
Our biggest shared resource in life is time. Time used well is more “strength” than anything else. If we are loving God with all our strength, we are prioritizing our time to loving God. Sometimes this is an active use of time, like spending time at church when the body comes together to worship God. How could you possibly better use that same time-slot if loving God is your main focus? Sometimes, it is not going into a “debt” with your time by using too much on things that are not loving God. What does God see when we are too tired for Church because we borrowed time from the night before? Think of time like a currency. Don’t steal important time from the future by wasting it today. Let Jesus redeem our time.
Speaking of time, God placed us in this modern age on His grand timeline. We cannot separate ourselves from this truth, and we must recognize that if we are to love God with whatever strength is at our disposal this includes our abundance of common technology. Did you know that you can listen to tomorrow’s worship music right now? Do you use the internet to study the Bible deeper? Are you loving God with how you browse the internet? If you are using technology to share in gossip sites and lust, is there any chance you are loving God with all your strength?
Perhaps our biggest possible strength for loving God exists in His image that He has given to us: people. If we lead an army, that army is part of our strength that can be used to love God. While none of us leads an army, we all have family, friends, or brothers and sisters in Christ in our lives. The human network of people is a huge “strength” we have to love God. It is loving God with your strength to encourage other people to love Him. It is loving God with your strength to teach your children His Word. It is loving God with your strength to gather in fellowship with believers, evangelize non-believers, and reflect God’s love to all other people.
The difference between loving God “a lot” and loving God with all your “heart,” “soul,” “mind,” and “strength” is easy to see when we break them down. Focus tonight on your strength, your temporal resources, and ask yourself if they are a “pleasing aroma to the Lord.” If we are honest, we might see that are not. If they are not, I welcome you to really admit that truth, receive the forgiveness He has already given you, and turn to love God with all of your strength.
Please pray tonight for God’s great name to be praised. Pray for the strength of Desert Hills’ Pastor, Elders, and everyone who will hear God’s Word tomorrow. May we all get enough sleep tonight, keeping our time and strength focused on Worshiping Him!