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Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 39 : Love the Lord | Day 270

Love God With All Your Mind!

If we are to love God with all our souls, and if the mind is a part of the soul, why did God specifically instruct us to love Him with all our mind? The answer is revealed in the vital importance of keeping our thoughts focused on the Lord at all times. Scripture tells us that God will keep him “... in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3).

No wonder David begins Psalm 1 with a challenge to delight in God's Law and meditate on it day and night. Paul also urges believers to “pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17) and to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom ...” (Colossians 3:16).

Loving God with all our minds means bringing our thoughts into alignment with His thoughts.

The word Jesus used for mind in this command is dianoia. It means "the mind as a faculty of understanding, feeling, desiring" and involves a moral reflection based on knowing or understanding. Our love for God in our thoughts has a direct bearing on the renewing of our minds that is accomplished through the work of the Holy Spirit.

However, removing God from our thoughts is like turning out the light and allowing darkness to rule. “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts" (Psalm 10:4). Paul also described the destruction that comes to a person who rejects God in his thoughts: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind ...” (Romans 1:28).

In Romans 7, the Apostle Paul described the inward battle that takes place between the sinful old nature and the new nature in Christ. As we "feed" the new nature by delighting in God's Word, we become increasingly aware of sin in our lives and develop a greater desire to be cleansed of this sin and to obey God. This puts us in conflict with the old nature of sin that is still warring within our flesh.

The danger of not proactively seeking to love God in all of our thoughts is that we will more easily "give in" to the carnal thoughts and habits that are a part of the old sin nature. A carnal mind opposes spiritual things and causes us to be enemies of God. (See Romans 8:5-8.)

“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).

A person might ask, "How can I think about God all day long and get my other work done?" God has made our minds capable of thinking of many things at the same time. At any given moment we may be talking to a person but also be aware of others in the room, remember an upcoming appointment, and be conscious of a dozen other things.

One who has a spiritual mind seeks to relate every facet of life to the Lord and the truth of His Word. Jesus demonstrated this skill as He walked through the countryside and drew analogies from His observations of vineyards, birds, flowers, and even the grass in order to communicate spiritual truths. In fact, the world around us "comes to life" when our minds are filled with love for God and we view everything around us from His perspective. Let's purpose to retain God in all of our thoughts every moment of every day.

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard