God asks us to love him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. How do we do that?
Unless it’s mad, passionate, extraordinary love, it’s a waste of your time. There are too many mediocre things in life. Love shouldn’t be one of them.Dream for an Insomniac1
Most people hope for an extraordinary love. They want a head-over-heels, once-in-a-lifetime relationship that is both passionate and enduring. Hit movies, best-selling novels, and dating websites all bank on our hope for a great romance.
However, the greatest love wasn’t born in a movie or a classic novel; it was authored by God himself when he created you in his image. His singular desire has always been a passionate, enduring relationship with you. Like us, God wants nothing less than the greatest love story.
Love with Passion and Purpose
God has a single expectation for a relationship with you. He spells out his desire in the Bible: “And 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.”2
He makes it very clear that he wants “all” of you. He wants all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength invested in your relationship with him. More than anything, he craves a relationship in which you are “all in.”
Anyone who has been all in knows that loving passionately is about loving purposefully. The two elements feed each other: Your passion drives your purpose. Your purpose feeds your passion.
An “all in” kind of love is the sum of the little choices we make each day. Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages, said, “Our most basic emotional need is not to fall in love. It’s to be genuinely loved by another, to know a love that grows out of reason and choice, not instinct. I need to be loved by someone who chooses to love me, who sees in me something worth loving.”3
What are the daily choices you can make to love God passionately? Thankfully, because you’re a reflection of him, you can begin by simply asking yourself, How do I hope to be loved? You already have what it takes to create an extraordinary relationship with God.
Let’s look at each of the ways God wants your love.
Love with All Your Heart
Loving God with all your heart means reserving the best of your affection for him. Make time each day to build an intimate relationship with him through prayer—through conversation. He wants to know you and be known by you.
Start by sharing joys with him. Run to him first with your big news at work. Sing to him at the top of your lungs on a great day. Fill him in on your private hopes. Tell him how much you appreciate him. Boost him up to others.
But also talk to him first when you’re feeling down. Cry to him when you’re overwhelmed at home. Admit when you feel jealous. Be honest when you’re disappointed or angry—even if it’s him you’re angry with. Share your secret fears. Apologize when you’ve made a mistake. Ask him for forgiveness.
Then let him talk. He has things to say, and he wants a relationship that goes both ways. Ask for his advice and seek out his answer. Listen to his stories in the Bible. Hear out people who speak his truth. Notice the gifts he has provided for you.
Each day, set aside time to get to know God.
Love with All Your Soul
Loving God with all your soul means dedicating your life to him. Begin by asking him, “How do you want me to spend my time, energy, money, and talents? What can I do with my resources to honor you?”
Find out what God values and stay true to those things. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”4 When you invite God into all areas of your life, he will show you how to live in a way that pleases him.
He may ask you to shift your spending habits from self-indulgence to those less fortunate. He might encourage you to change your attitude toward work. He’ll probably ask you to find friends who support your relationship with him. He’ll definitely urge you to forgive and love people the way he forgives and loves you.
In every area of your life, look for ways to show your commitment to him.
Love with All Your Mind
Loving God with all your mind means backing up your passion with knowledge. Benjamin Franklin has been credited with saying, “If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.” God understands that the mind and heart are linked. He wants you to use your reasoning to understand and love him more fully.
Begin by asking questions. Don’t be afraid to challenge him and wrestle with his commands and your beliefs. When I’ve asked tough questions, I’ve found that God welcomes genuine curiosity and dialogue. In fact, he hopes for it.
Then seek his answers. Read the Bible and find out what the words mean. Listen to the experiences of others. Take a class. Ask him for guidance. Make an effort to find out who he is. Discover what he likes and what he dislikes.
Loving God with all your mind also means directing your thoughts to valuable things. When you focus on hope and love instead of fear and hate, your heart and actions follow. Philippians 4:8 says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
Each day, wonder about God.
Love with All Your Strength
Loving God with all your strength means persevering for him each day. To what lengths will you go for the one you love? Poet Bayard Taylor once said, “The loving are the daring.”5 Indeed, genuine love demands strength and courage like nothing else.
It means you must muster your resources to protect your relationship with God every single day. It means you’re willing to change and sacrifice things to have him. It means being honest, and sometimes it means doing the unpopular thing. It means listening to truth and holding yourself accountable.
Loving God strongly is walking away from gossip when you prefer to be part of the group. It’s admitting you’re wrong and making a change. It’s asking people to help you protect your relationship with God when you don’t feel like it. It’s avoiding the people and things that could take your attention and love away from him. It’s getting up and trying again after you’ve failed.
Each day, be willing to fight for your relationship with God.
Love in the Moments
Every day is made up of hundreds of little moments that are opportunities to love God. And every single opportunity matters.
When loving moments are strung together, they form days. When loving days are strung together, they become months. When loving months are strung together, they stretch into years. And over time, years of love for God make up one extraordinary love story.