Do you Love the Lord Thy God with All Thy Heart, Mind, Soul and Strength?
Updated: Jun 18, 2022
It is said that we can’t love God like that, or that we don’t always love God like that. Is that true to Scripture? Matt 22:37-40 reads,
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
This is an emphatic statement, one that is attached to eternal life. The Bible actually says here and other Scripture that collaborates, if we don’t love God like that, then we are unsaved. That is what Jesus is teaching the lost lawyer above who tempted Him and then again the same question by likely a different lawyer in Luke 10, below. Remember both these men are unsaved. God the Son is teaching them how to have eternal life.
In another place the same question and answer is given by “a certain lawyer” who,
“stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Lk 10:25)
The answer that Christ gives is quoted from De. 6:5; 10:12-16; 30:6 and Lev. 19:18.
“He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” (Lk 10:26-28)
To love God is a command and it ties to our walk with the Lord, as these passages report. If you don’t love God like this, you are unsaved, because all saved people love God in such a manner.
How do we know that? Jesus said it, and He is the truth. In His Word He says it, and nothing contradicts it. Loving God is how we have eternal life. The reason is two-fold and both simple yet profound, and illustrates why all true believers will prove their salvation with true faith (Jam 2:14-26) and meet all the evidence put forth in the Word of God, especially seen in the epistles of 1 John and James. (1) To be saved we must love God and His truth, which means we will believe what it says about us (e.g. Jer. 17:9; Rom 3:10-19) and will consequently obey the gospel (2 Th 1:8; 1 Pet 4:17), which means to repent of our sins and self and stuff and people, and believe the gospel of Christ (Ac 17:30-31; 3:19; 20:26). (2) And then God alone does the saving and the incredible work of cleansing and washing us, forgiving us, making us new creatures in Christ, justifying us, sanctifying us perfectly, reconciling, imputing with His righteousness, quickening us, circumcising our hearts from our flesh, indwelling us, etc; all that and more at the very moment of our new birth and thus its God Himself that causes us to love Him, but not only that, He teaches us to love Him.
This is what De. 10:12-16 and 30:6 teach, further illustrated in passages such as Rom 5:5 and Col 2:10-15.
“And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, TO LOVE THE LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” (De 30:6)
If you don’t love God like that, you don’t live because you are yet dead in your sins (Eph 2:1-3) and thus don’t have life (Pr 8:34; Jn 17:2-3), the life He gives at salvation which is also eternal. Then “ye have not the love of God in you.” (Jn 5:42). When we are converted,
“hope maketh not ashamed; because THE LOVE OF GOD IS SHED ABROAD IN OUR HEARTS by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Rom 5:5).
"And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ." (2 Th 3:5)
Not only does He teach us and direct us into His love, which causes us to love God the Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ with all our heart, mind and soul but also because of “how great things he hath done for you” (1 Sam 12:24) through the “so great salvation,” (Heb 2:3), so "the love of Christ constraineth us . . . unto him which died for them, and rose again" (2 Cor 5:14-15), because “thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” (Ps 86:15).
"For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again." (2 Cor 5:14-15)
There are two categories concerning love: we either love Him or we don’t (Matt 22:37-40). It’s that simple. We either have the love of Father in us or we don’t (1 Jn. 2:15). And the reason for that, as already mentioned, is profoundly crucial.
That is the first and great commandment but the second goes the same. We always love our brethren. If we don’t we are lost and walk and abide in darkness (1 Th 4:9; Jn 13:34-35; 15:12, 17; 1 Jn 2:9-11; 3:10-16; 4:7-12, 16-21; 5:2; 1 Pet 1:22). E.g. “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” (1 Jn 3:10). It is God Himself, once again, that causes us to love our brethren, hence why it’s also an irrefutable evidence of conversion:
“But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves ARE TAUGHT OF GOD TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER.” (1 Jn 4:9).
Preaching today often doesn’t clarify how love is actually shown and proven. There is much talk about how we don’t always meet the requirements for the love that is expected of the saints, which is not Biblically true, but what isn’t explained is the only means whereby we can actually show love to God. And how is that? By obeying His Word. Doing what He says. Love is to obey Gods commandments and that again is intimately connected to salvation, obedience being the huge evidence of true salvation, everything else directly tied to it.
“And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.” (2 Jn 1:5-6).
“Love is of God” (1 Jn 4:7). Only those who dwell in God dwell in love (1 Jn 4:16).
Those that truly love God, obey His Word. They “love His name” (Ps 69:36) and “love [His] salvation” (Ps 70:4) and love His Son so they keep His words just like Jesus said:
“If ye love me, keep my commandments. . . . He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. . . . If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.” (Jn 14:15-24).
Love is fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22) and every born again believer “live[s] in the Spirit” (Gal 5:25a). The Holy Spirit, God Himself, produces actual love in a person (Rom 5:5). That limits what it could be, because only believers are indwelt by the Spirit, and a lot of false pretending “believers” have feelings that they think are love and even called love, they claim to love God, but they don’t obey God’s Word which is doing the will of God (Matt 7:21), so what they have isn’t actually love but maybe sentimentalism (Jn 14:15-24).
And “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.” (1 Cor 16:22).
That means to be accursed at Christ’s coming. Love for God, with all our heart, mind, soul and strength is only demonstrated by obedience to His Word, to what He has said. You can read more about that here: What is True Biblical Love? and You Say You Love Jesus, but Do You Really Love Jesus?