Love the Lord Your God

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A teacher of the law asked Jesus which was the most important commandment. He answered, “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, NIV; also, Luke 10:27).

“Heart” is from the Greek word kardia, referring to something’s innermost part. The verse also lists “soul,” so kardia likely refers to one’s spirit. Based on scripture, our spirits’ functions include our character, will, discernment and courage, among others. It’s the essence of our nature.

“Soul” is from the Greek word psyche, the source of our English word “psyche.” Scripture indicates the psyche provides our awareness, mind, intellect, reasoning, feelings, memory and decision-making (in contrast to will), among other functions. While our heart or spirit usually is stable and doesn’t change much, our psyche is dynamic. It’s constantly processing what’s going on, how we’re reacting to it and deciding what to do about it. The psyche controls how we live our lives.

“Mind” (dianoia) represents our disposition, way of thinking, and probably our biases. It’s listed with the psyche, which suggests they’re different, though they overlap. So dianoia refers to how we typically think.

“Strength” is from ischus, which represents our ability, potential, power or strength; what we’re able to do.

So Jesus said it’s most important for us to love God with our most fundamental nature, with every reaction and decision, how we think and everything we’re able to do.

Simply put, we should love God with everything we are and do.

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