Love the Lord Your God

A teacher of the law asked Jesus which of the commandments was the most important, and 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” (Mk 12:30; also, Lk 10:27).

“Heart” is from the Greek word kardia, which refers to the innermost part of something. It might be translated soul or spirit, but because “soul” is also listed in the verse, kardia refers to spirit. Based on scripture, our spirits’ functions include our character, will, discernment and courage, among others. This is the essence of who we are.

“Soul” is translated from psyche, which is equivalent to our English word “psyche.” Scripture indicates the psyche provides our awareness, mind, intellect, reasoning, feelings, memory, decisiveness (in contrast to will) and imagination, among other functions. While our heart or spirit generally is stable and doesn’t change much, our psyche is very 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, temperament or way of thinking, and probably includes our biases, the way we process information or typically respond. The mind is considered a function of the psyche, yet it seems distinct from and affects the other functions. The fact that it’s listed with the psyche suggests they’re different, though they overlap. So dianoia refers to how we generally express ourselves.

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

So Jesus was saying the most important thing for us to do is to love God with our most fundamental nature, with every reaction and decision, every way we express ourselves and everything we’re able to do.

Simply put, love God with everything you are and do.

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