All Your Soul

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul [emphasis added] and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31 ESV).

Next Jesus says, “… you shall love the Lord your God … with all your soul” (v. 30b). The soul is a little more difficult to understand than the heart. We don’t often use this kind of language in describing a part of our being. However, we can define the soul as our personality and the seat of our will. Think about it this way. When a man and woman fall in love, they often marry. While passion may have drawn them together, it is a decision of the will that keeps them together in a committed relationship. The fact is that sinful human nature often causes us to be tempted to be unfaithful to our spouse. It’s during those times that we have to completely ignore temporary feelings and by an act of the will, decide to stay faithful. We express our love through this long-term faithfulness, loyalty, and devotion.

It’s the same with God. When we give our heart to God, we begin that relationship with Him. Then along the way, we’re tempted to fall into sin. And if we simply followed our feelings, we would give into the temptation. But if we’re really going to love God, we choose to be faithful to Him, no matter what we’re feeling at the moment. We love God when we choose to root our entire lives in the hands of God. Then we will begin to discover the contentment and peace that we have been searching for all our lives. We will find meaning and purpose and value and worth in the unconditional love of God. And the best part is that we will find that all these thing s will belong to us in increasing measure no matter what circumstances life may throw our way.

Life does have a way of keeping on coming at us. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out something comes along to mess the whole thing up. Car breaks down. Recession hits. Job gets cut. One you thought you trusted betrays you. Lab report comes back positive. Rejection notice shows up in the mail. Death of a loved one stops everything in its tracks. We try our best to pretend that we have things all under control. But we know that all it takes is one single moment in time to shatter that illusion. Knowing this is true, we worry. We get angry. We lose our patience. We grow desperate. Some of us even we give up. Loving God with all your soul means that no matter what circumstances come your way you will continue to trust that your soul, your very life, is firmly rooted in a foundation that will never be shaken.