And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment.
Asher and Gray have been memorizing this verse during our morning school time, and I’ve been thankful for the daily admonishment I receive from hearing it recited so regularly. We are called to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. And, it stands to reason, that if we grow in these four areas, we will be able to better love the Lord our God.
We should work hard to grow…
-BIG HEARTS. We can grow in love for each other and those around us. This love is self-sacrificial, done in deed and in truth, not just in word or in tongue (1 John 3:18). We can also brush up on our 1 Cor. 13!
-STEADFAST SOULS. We are called to have a faith that does not waver, and we can improve our stability of faith through fervent prayer, reading the Word of truth, and through keeping our focus on that which is good, pure, noble, and true (Phil 4:8). We can defeat anxiety and fear through concentrating on the goodness and kindness of our sovereign Lord, the God of creation, who holds all things together.
-HEALTHY MINDS. We can focus our minds on “things above,” as well as improving them academically through the reading of non-fiction (or really good, thought-provoking fiction), keeping up-to-date on current events, and of course studying the scriptures and wise teachings about them. A couple other examples: I like to listen to sermons while I do my housework after the boys go to bed, write on my blog, and brainstorm up some pretty fantastical bedtime stories…
-PHYSICAL STRENGTH. We need to tend to our physical bodies, and take care of these vessels God has given us. This requires self-discipline, which is always a good thing to cultivate! We need to work hard to take care of not only our own bodies, but also the bodies living in our households. This includes preparing nice meals, exercising, and making healthy choices; all while avoiding the ditch on either side of the “health” road. Be wise. Grow in strength. I personally have been trying to squeeze in 20-30 minutes of a (very challenging!) work out every weekday during nap time, and while it's a great sacrifice-- I loved my relaxing nap time ritual!-- I'm definitely benefitting from the exercise! And I find I'm able to skip my afternoon cup of coffee on a regular basis. (I don't get it, but somehow wearing yourself out gives you more energy...Ha!)
As Christians, we desire to love God and know Him better. This requires more than an emotional feeling we get while singing on Sunday mornings. It requires obedience to His Word, and hard work! Focusing efforts to develop these four areas of life for His glory will undoubtedly bless us, and bring us closer to the God we love and worship.
So, this is what I have been musing about and working on. I would call it a New Year's resolution, but I don't really do those, and it's already February.