Whole Heart

Matthew 22:37–38 (ESV) … “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the great and first commandment.”


Jesus used “heart,” “soul,” and “mind” to express the dimensions of our love for God. The terms should be taken together to mean, “Love God with your whole being.” In life they cannot be completely isolated (such as, “I will love God today with all my heart while my soul and mind are otherwise occupied”). Heart, soul, and mind function in harmony in our love for God.


Take each of these components and meditate on how to express your love. “Heart” refers primarily to our emotional response. When we think about love, we usually stop with emotions. The helpful roles of “soul” and “mind” become clear when our emotions (or heart) fail us. What do we do with the command to love God if we don’t feel like it? “Soul” includes the willful, decision-making part of us. Loving God with our soul covers those times when we love God apart from our feelings, such as when we truly forgive another while part of us feels like exacting revenge on that person.


“Mind” refers to an active component of our love for God. In a world where faith is often described as characteristic of people who don’t think, Jesus’ words point to the importance of engaging our mind as a central aspect of what we believe. Of course, loving God with our mind covers much more than the practice of thinking about God. If we place our mind into service for God, it will enjoy its greatest usefulness. Identify what area of your whole love for God needs special attention, and make it a point to involve that part of yourself in loving God.[i]





[i] Barton, B. B. (1996). Matthew (p. 442). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

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