By: Barry Keurulainen
Someone asked Jesus, “What is the greatest commandment?” Without pause, Jesus said, “You shall 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 ESV).
What does this look like for us as men as we lead our families? Spiritual leadership of the family begins with an understanding of how we love God in our own body, mind, heart, and soul. Only when we practice these ourselves can we lead our families into a deeper love of God.
The heart is the center of our affections and desires. The affections of our heart are deep currents that steer our lives. These affections will follow what we treasure, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21 ESV).
What do you treasure most in your life? Be ruthlessly honest with yourself, where does Jesus fit into the things you treasure? When we understand the depth to which he treasures us, we will treasure him and can say, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God” (Psalm 42:1 ESV)
Your soul is the life center of who you are. If the word “affection” captures loving God with all your heart, “devotion” is the word for loving him with the soul. When he’s the devotion of everything in you, you’ll live each day for the glory of his name. This is the call of discipleship that Jesus speaks to your soul, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23 ESV).
When a man and woman fall in love, they want to know everything about each other—should it be any different when it comes to our heavenly Father? Augustine wisely said, “You cannot love what you do not know!”
Loving God with our minds means he is the focus of our mental attention. We can meditate on his Word and experience constant renewal (Romans 12:1–2). When our mind trusts and loves what he has revealed to us, we’ll be able to think his thoughts in our daily decisions. Those who worship God not only do so in their soul, but in truth (John 4:23)—something that happens in the mind.
The first three focus inward, but this one is outward. Strength refers to what we’re able to do with our abilities and physical powers. It also refers to the force of our possessions— whether it be money, personal belongings, or any other physical thing that could help someone in need.
Loving God with all our strength involves using our abilities and our possessions to love God by loving others. This command covers every facet of our life, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17 ESV).
Examine yourself. How well do you love the Lord? Consider these same questions for your family members.
- The things I treasure in life are ____ (heart)
- Is pursuing God at the center of your being? If not, who/what is? (soul)
- When I’m alone, my mind typically dwells on _____ (mind)
- What do you spend your time and money on each day? (strength)
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