Getting your soul on fire
Last week we talk about loving God with all of your heart the seat of our affections, passions, and desires.
Placing Him first know that as we do that all of those things are fulfilled in a greater manner than we could ever imagine.
So many things demanding our attention but Hebrews says this…
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God
Jesus challenged all people including each of us with this
Mark 12:28- 30
One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: “Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.”
This week we are going to talk about loving God with all of our soul but we must define what a soul is first in order to know what to do with it. What is interesting is in many verses heart and soul are connected and that is because as we will see they are very closely related.
People often confuse the soul and spirit but the Bible separates the two
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So what is our soul?
The best way to describe our soul is it is our personality, the definition of who we are, our identity.
It’s where we make our decisions and choices that ultimately decide our lifestyle and behavior.
To love the Lord with all your soul means to love Him in the way we live, in the choices we make and in the behavior and lifestyle we adopt.
Here are three predominant ways to love God with all our soul.
Love the Lord with all your soul by making Godly choices.
Our lives are the sum of the choices we make.
Plain and simple. Our choices show what we are committed to and they reflect our core values, defining us and displaying our lifestyle before the world.
We do what we value. Last week we talked about having Christ as our treasure and if we do have Christ as our treasure our choices will mirror that treasure.
Our choices flow from what we treasure most!
Ask yourself: How do I spend my money? What do I do with my time? What kinds of things do I read? What programs do I watch? What do I do for entertainment? Where do I go for relaxation? What things give comfort in difficult times? What kind of friends do I have?
All of these result in choices that demonstrate whether we love God with all our soul.
Love the Lord with all your soul by pursuing obedience to His Word.
Love must be demonstrated. When we keep His commandments, when we live by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God, we are tangibly expressing our love for the Lord.
“If you love me, obey my commandments
I’ve been happily married for over 32 years. In those 32 years I have made decisions based on love that I did not feel like making but I did it anyway. I am obedient to the covenant that I made over 32 years ago to love unconditionally whether I feel like it or not.
That’s why this second part of the First Commandment is vital.
Sometimes we are not going to feel like loving God but we do it out of love for God, nonetheless. In the Kingdom, obedience usually comes first and feelings second.
Our feelings will lie to us and also can even create fear in us. Saul had captured the Amalakites, virtually destroying the entire race (1 Samuel 15). He had the best of intentions in bringing back sheep, goats, cattle and all these things, as an offering to God but he choose instead of being obedient to God’s command to destroy everything he went with his feelings and it cost him the kingdom, not right away mind you. God knew his heart, he brought the animals back not to honor God but to show everyone how great he was, his insecurity was revealed and caused him to make bad choices.
Our choices always impact us but sometimes the real impact is not felt for years. His choice was based on his fear and his devotion was not to God but the way people thought of him, his reputation, his fears
Love the Lord with all your soul by pursuing a life of humility in attitudes and speech.
Embracing humility is the stage where we can express our love to the Lord. Jesus taught us how to love from a place of meekness, serving us unto death.
Meekness is merely power under control.
A person who is meek understands the authority, privilege, and or power that they walk in but the choose to restrain that power except to promote love. There is both a confidence and security in meekness that enables us to make living choices that bring life to people because we are confident of who we are and whose we are and our lives reflect that through our attitudes and choices. It is always about promoting the Lord’s agenda which ultimately fulfills us because we were created to promote the Lord’s agenda.
This meekness is expressed most dynamically in our attitudes and speech. What we say and how we say it enhances or quenches our ability to love the Lord by the power of the Spirit.
Wrong speech will ultimately affect our spiritual lives and work against our love for the Lord. It also reveals where we are in our walk with Christ. It reveals again, what we treasure
For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit
When Jesus is our Great Treasure then our affections are captured. This is how we love God with all of our heart.
When our affections are captured then choices become God-centered and a lifestyle of humility and godliness is born. This is loving God with all your soul.
So what do we need to do?
- We must decide to make choices based on Christ at the center. Pray this simple prayer “Lord help me to make wise choices based on you being the center of my life”
- Allow the Lord to show you when you are making choices based on fleshly center ideas rather than “God-centered” ideas
- Recognize that God’s spirit is in you and with you so the greatest power in the universe is living in you and if you choose will cause you to make choices that will fulfill your destiny and purpose.
- Read the books of Acts and Judges in particular to take note of when people where making choices based on the Lord’s leading versus their own desires and the price of blessing of both.
Two down and two to go. In the next few weeks we will look at how to love God with all our mind and strength.