I was recently asked to explain Matthew 22:37.
Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.
Here, Jesus tells us that the first and greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind.
Heart: In the Bible, our heart is not the emotional center, but the center of all of ourselves…..it’s like the heart of a tree is the center of the tree. Jesus is saying here to love God with every part of ourselves. If we love God with our heart, we love God down to the very center of ourselves.
Soul: This is the part of us that makes us who we are, the part that makes us human and alive. Jesus is saying to love God with all that we are. The opposite of this would be to just love God with our flesh, or just our emotions. Rather, God wants us to love with all of our being.
Mind: The main point here is that we are not merely to love God with an emotional love, but with all of ourselves, including our mind.
What does it mean to love God with our mind? It means to love Him by thinking about Him, by learning more about Him. Think of two young people in love…..what do they think about? They think about the other person, what they are like, what makes them special. Jesus tells us to love God by thinking about Him. Think about what God is like, what His characteristics are like. We are to put our mind in gear and think. Christianity is for thinking people, and we are to love God by thinking about Him, learning about Him.
Also note here that this verse is a command. Jesus tells us this is the first and greatest commandment. We are commanded to love God by thinking about Him. Using our minds is not an option, but is the first and greatest thing we can do.
Is it possible to love God too much? Is it possible to give too much of our heart to God? No, it’s not possible. The more we give God our heart (the center of our being), the closer we get to Him, the more glory He gets, and the more we enjoy Him. Likewise, is it possible to love God with our mind too much? No, it’s not, it is not possible to think about God too much. The more we put our mind in gear, the more we learn of God and His ways, the greater our relationship will be with Him. Putting our mind in gear and thinking about God more, is better than thinking less.
I say all this because in the modern church we are often encouraged to turn off our mind, to check our brain at the door. Many churchgoers are told to accept logical contradictions, or don’t try to figure out things about God. The Bible says otherwise, and tells us to love God with our mind.
Also note that it says to love God with all of our mind. All of it means that every part of our thinking should be affected by God. We do not have a religious part of our mind, then a secular part of our mind. We are commanded to love God with all of our mind, every bit of it.
Jesus commands us to love God with all of our mind. This is good, for with God there is a lot to think about. This verse is telling us to put our mind in gear and think about an infinitely deep subject, God, and that this is love. He is infinite, and we will never fully understand Him, but oh, how great it is to think about God, to learn more of His ways, to think about Him.