This is Day Four of a deep and meaningful look at what Tom Holladay calls “The Relationship Principles of Jesus“. I will be diving into what this book ultimately explains: the greatest commandments and how they apply to us. At the core of these commandments is relationship. I understand that this may be a lot of information, but it is broken down into 6 sections which are further broken down into 40 days.
In the last couple of days, we learned what one of the main reasons for life, and that is relationships. The two greatest commandments according to Jesus are, “Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength (Deut. 6:5),” and “Love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18).” On these two commands do all of our morals and values come from.
Today, our focus is going to be on the soul. “Love God with all your soul.” The soul, according to Holladay, is “your desires and passions”, “your God-given personality,” and “your will to decide.”
“Your soul is the passion with which you’re living, the personality you’ve been given, the path your life is taking, the power in your being.”Tom Holladay, The Relationship Principles of Jesus (Grand Rapids, Zondervan 2008), 50
To love God with all our soul, we must do a couple of things. First we need to seek Him passionately. That feeling of desire and yearning that we feel when searching for something really important to us. If you have ever lost something like your keys, your phone, or wallet, then you might sense a little bit of the passion. Now, let’s bring that desire up a bit, and imagine if you will you lost track of your child in the supermarket. Let’s say he wandered over into the next aisle while you were comparing the carbohydrates of one food item to another. You look around, and he is not standing next to you where he was a minute ago. You begin to search diligently for him, and of course you find him in the very next aisle mimicking you looking at the labels of two cans of soup. That desire and passion to find him becomes your utmost priority. Take the fear out of it (because he is safe and next to you just in different aisle), and you have the passion level needed for your entire “soul” to be engaged in seeking out God and building the relationship. There are a couple of parables that Jesus talks about to give an idea of what kind of energy to bring to this relationship in Luke chapter 15.
The next way to love God with all our souls is to love him personally. God created us the way He did with the attributes and characteristics that each of us have individually for a purpose and reason that only we can be. There is no one else that can worship God the way He wants us to worship Him. Just because someone else raises their hands like David in worship doesn’t mean that we all do that. Some of us worship with head bowed and eyes closed. Some of us worship with singing, timbrel, and harp. Some of us worship quietly with a “full heart”. No matter how we worship, the point is that we are worshiping God the way we were meant to and the way He directs us to individually and corporately.
The final way that Holladay directs us to love God with all of our souls is to “decide to do what He wants you to do.” He gives the example of Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane in Luke 22 just before Jesus’ time comes for His crucifixion. In verse 42, Jesus says, “Not My will, but Yours be done.” He shows us that we need to talk to God, ask Him for guidance, and ask for our desires that don’t line up with His will be put aside. We ask that Our Heavenly Father give us the direction with which to take our next step with. The only way to do that is by humbling ourselves, baring ourselves for God, and trusting Him.
The most difficult portion of this day’s lesson is that I love God with most of my soul, but not all of soul. There are times when in worship I don’t raise my hands when He is clearly asking me to raise my hands. Or there are times when He is prompting me to clear some time out of my day for one on one time with Him in prayer and devotion, and I end up using that time to catch up on laundry or reading another book. However, He commands all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength – not a portion. And the question that Holladay poses at the end of the day is: “Where do I need to pray, ‘Lord, Your will be done,’ in order to love God with all my soul?” His will be done, and that my will and desires line up with His.
Gotta go fill up my cup…..