“Love the Lord your God
with all your heart
and with all your soul
and with all your strength.”
With all your soul. Yet another 4WORDS that press us forward. In 1981, I graduated from college. That was a long time ago! This past week, I experienced my first FINALS week since college. Boy, it stretched me! One of my final requirements was a 12 page “Personal Theory of Counseling Paper”—where I responded to a series of assigned questions and had to formulate my reaction to the authors we had studied over the course of the eight-week class. As a student in the Marriage and Family Therapy program, I definitely have to study a great deal about the “SOULISH” realm of man, i.e., a man’s will, intellect, mind, emotions, thoughts, etc. I truly believe, as do many authors, that the soulish realm is one of the most difficult battlegrounds. Dr. Sandra Wilson, author of Hurt People Hurt People, writes of the “dark kingdoms” in which many men and women grow up. Environments that breed dysfunction. Environments that lack nurture, health and emotional well-being. Many of us happened to grow up in such a place. So, in that case, how in the world do we even begin to “love God with all of our soul?” Is it possible? How do we love God with all of our mind, our emotions, our intellect, our will, etc.?
Obviously, bookstores are FULL of authors writing on this very subject, but the one book I look to FIRST AND FOREMOST, is God’s Word. From Genesis to Revelation, we are given a spiritual map that charts out the way to love God with all of our soul. If you are like me, my soul always needs strengthening. My mind grows weary, hence the famed idiom, “I am losing my mind.” My emotions face daily challenges, from anger to bitterness to delirious joy to shock and bewilderment (right now I am waiting on my car to be fixed—an unexpected financial crunch). My intellect is stretched and makes new demands (a Master’s Degree at my age?). My will fights against God every moment of every day—it WANTS ITS OWN WAY. So, I am going to look to God’s Word today for a little shot of SOUL STRENGTH. Please join me:
- My mind: Isaiah 26:3 (NIV), “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” Note the prepositional phrase, in perfect peace, because it assures me I can be in a state of perfect peace. But, the only way to achieve that is through keeping my mind STAYED on Jesus Christ. I have a long way to go when it comes to being in perfect peace, but I sure would like to experience that in my lifetime. This is not a promise for ETERNITY, but for now. Lord, help my mind to be fixed on you today. Amen.
- My will: Matthew 6:8-10, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Here we find another 4WORDMOTION thrust, “YOUR WILL BE DONE.” Not my hard-to-mold will that wants its own way. No, GOD’S will. This brings to mind another great scripture that we can apply to our wills, found in Isaiah 55:8-9, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'” We always think we know what is best, but God really knows what is best for our lives. Lord, help us trust you today. Your will be done. Amen.”
- My emotions: Ephesians 4:14, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.” This scripture makes me take a good long look in the mirror of my soul. Are there areas in my life where I am acting like an infant? Am I being blown here and there by emotional insecurities, inferiority, needs that are self-centered and demanding? If so, I need to take a few moments to talk to God. Lord, help me lay my infantile ways at Your cross. Be the anchor of my soul. Amen.”