“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5

This verse is one of the most common stumbling blocks for many Christians. From this, they are derided, reprimanded and condemned by friends, family and even preachers. Because, let’s face it, can you ever love God enough? Is there even such a thing as loving God enough? No matter how much we love God, we could always love Him more, don’t you agree? Just like children who accuse their parents for not loving them just because their parents said ‘no’ to them asking for a new toy, forgetting that they have rooms full of toys back home; the Christian is often derided by those around for not loving God enough.

But beloved, Jesus wants you to know that He feels no such thing. He said no such thing. And most importantly, He demands no such thing. So then, how do we reconcile all this?

We must begin by looking at why and to whom this verse was mentioned.

In the book of Exodus, Israel has just made the following declaration to God.

“Then all the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” Exodus 19:8

Or as translated by God's Word Bible,

“All the people spoke at the same time and said, “We will obey everything the Lord says.” Exodus 19:8[GW]

By so doing, they were essentially telling God that they could, they had in them all strength and power to, satisfy God’s requirements; essentially saying that they were and could be perfect, all the time, in God’s sight.

Now, of course we see the futility and perhaps even immaturity of such a statement. It was like children promising, after disobeying, that they will ‘never do it again’; that they could be good ‘for the rest of their lives’. When our children tell us that, of course we know that despite their best intentions, they were not going to be able to keep their promise. Likewise, our Father knows that there is no way we can obey and do all that He commands, all the time.

But Him knowing is not really the point, now is it? We need to know that. Else, we will be forever trying to please God with our own efforts, like a baby trying to climb up a tall step. So God teaches us that, by setting out that commandment, because with that commandment, God has just commanded us to make loving Him our all consuming passion.

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your [mind and] heart and with your entire being and with all your might.” Deuteronomy 6:5 [AMPC]

We were supposed to be thinking about Him all the time; thinking for Him and how He would feel toward our words, thoughts and deeds all the time; forgoing our daily comforts and channeling our energies into doing things that He would be pleased with all the time. That is what being the all consuming passion is supposed to be.

Beloved, passions are amazing things. For everything else, what the world thinks, how the world weighs, matters to us. But for our passions, we are more than willing to ignore what the world thinks and pursue them with a single-minded purpose and dedication, even though it defies logic. So, you think God can be your passion? Here, give it a try.

Feel that rumble in your tummy? There, got you. For that moment, you did not love God with your entire mind, because you were thinking about your tummy. Extreme example, yes, but do you understand now?

Also, note the instances when Jesus used that verse and to whom He used it on.

“Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’” Matthew 22:35-37

The lawyer did not ask the question with a heart to learn. He wanted to test Jesus, to see if Jesus was the real McCoy, to see if he could trap Jesus in any way. So Jesus issued him with the impossible task.

“And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”
So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:25-27

Again, Jesus faces a self-righteous man, eager to earn his own place in Heaven by his own efforts. For The Amplified says of him,

“And he, determined to acquit himself of reproach, said to Jesus, And who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:29 [AMPC]

He did not reckon that he was a sinner in need of saving, did he?

These two men were not interested in pleasing God. Ironically, they did not love God with all their heart, soul and mind at all. They were instead merely trying to find out which is the greatest, the most important, the heaviest (as The Amplified translates for us) law and if they can make it seem like they have kept it, then they, by their own merit, have earned a place in Heaven. To these, God wants to show them up, but not because He detests them, but just like a parent wants the child to know his limits so that he can finally stop struggling and let his parents take over and care for him, so too does our Father want them to realize that they cannot, so that they will rely on Him.

And for us who already acknowledge that we cannot, and only He can, Jesus has this to say when we are eager to do the things of God,

“Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” John 6:28-29

Believe. That is it. Or in another words,

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Jim Elliot said this,

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

We rightly use this to refer to man, and the call for man to turn to repentance. But beloved, Jesus wants you to know that this applies to Him even more.

He gave up His body on the cross for you so that by His brokenness, you might be made whole, for the prophet Isaiah said,

“Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.” Isaiah 53:4-5 [AMPC]
He shed His blood for you, so that you can receive full remission of sins.

“Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:27-28

These were things of the body that He could not keep. But He gave all that up, He gave up the temporal body, to gain us, so that by His death, He is able to save to the utter most all who believe, once for all, because we whom our Father has given to Jesus, not one of us can He lose, for Jesus said,

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.” John 6:37-39

Beloved, Jesus never demanded that we make Him our passion. If ever anyone has a passion for another, it was Jesus who had a passion for us. For even as He hung on the cross, suffering the pain and shame that our sins brought to Him, even as He suffered the ignominy of having God turn His back on Him for that one moment, so that we may be made right with God, so that we could exchange our sinful lives for His perfect one, He still said,

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34

Jesus truly loved us with all His heart, soul and strength. He was the one who loved us passionately.

And if you feel that He is calling out to you right now, and you want to respond to His call of grace; you beloved, are one whom our Father has given Him and even if it not be now, He will win you back one day. But if today is your day, then say this prayer with me.

“Heavenly Father, thank You that by Your divine knowledge, You have called me today. Thank You for never letting me go, even when I never wanted to come home to You. But Father I do now. I receive now, your gift of everlasting pardon, given freely, once for all. I receive now the full remission of sins that Jesus shed His blood to accomplish for me. I receive the health and wholeness that His body was broken to give me. And I step boldly before Your presence now knowing that I am now in right relationship with You. Thank You Father for all that You have done for me. Thank You Jesus for bearing it all for me. And I accept all the blessings and favor that this blessed life that you are now giving me will bring. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Be blessed, beloved child of God. Do not let anyone else take the confidence of His love away from you. Enjoy His love.

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