Saturday, January 17, 2015

How to inherit eternal life, part 7: loving God with all your strength

And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?" And he answered, "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." And He said to him, "You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE." (Luke 10:25-28 NASB)

We are continuing our study on how to inherit eternal life by loving God. In previous posts, we looked at how to love God with all our heart and with all our soulToday, we look at how to love God with all our strength.

The word translated as "strength" is ischys and literally means "ability". (BLB) To love God with all our strength, then, is to love Him with the best of our ability. When we do the very best we can at loving God, we have done enough. There is no need to love God the way someone else does. God does not measure the way we love Him by the preacher, the Sunday School teacher, or the most saintly person we know. He does not measure our love for God by how the saints and martyrs loved Him. God simply asks for us to love Him to the very best of our ability. How incredible is that? It is not too hard. It is not impossible. We are simply to love Him with the strength, the ability that He has placed in us. 

Jesus gave His life for us when He loved us with all His strength. Loving Him back with all our strength can be costly, but it will not be too hard for us to do. Just to be clear, this is not a whining, sniveling, "I did the best I could" excuse, kind of love. Remember that we are also called to love God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind. Don't lose sight of the fact that we are to love Him to the very best of our ability. The wonderful truth, however, is that, when we love Him with every fiber of our being, the best we can, it is enough.

Enough. Isn't that a beautiful word? Loving God is not too hard to do. We can love Him with all our strength (all our ability) and trust Him to increase our ability. We can love Him in this way, but the question that remains is "Will we?" Will we love Him the very best we can? Oh, dear ones, it is easier than you might think and more important that you can imagine.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails;...

But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13 NASB)