The Greatest Commandment (Part II)
All Your Mind
“Jesus replied, ‘“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.’” (Matthew 22:37-40)
Part two of our three-part series on what Jesus called the greatest commandment focuses on loving God with all our mind.
“Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” (1 Peter 3:15)
Apologists cite this verse as the first example of apologetics in the Bible. When the apostles were establishing the early churches, they understood the need for intelligent explanations of their faith—after all, they were out to establish Christianity where Christianity hadn’t been established, so they had better be able to explain their faith!
Loving God with all your mind is more than the ability to intelligently explain the faith—after all, we are not all gifted in argumentation and debate. Loving God with all our mind also means honoring God with our minds. You can’t really love someone if you don’t honor them, so to love God with all our minds we need to have thoughts that honor God. Paul knew this when he wrote to the church in Philippi:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
Think about it like this: if your mind was a television, would God approve of every channel? Sometimes I turn the television in my mind to the cursing channel. I wouldn’t say the words out loud but I get angry and they pass through my head. God does not approve of that and I need to have better control of anger and my thoughts. A problem with this is what comes in over the airwaves. I know that if I watch a movie that has a lot of language in it, those words will seep in and it makes it tougher to not think them in moments of frustration or anger, so I try to stay away from movies with a lot of language. It’s the same with nudity: I stay away from movies with nudity because the images can stick, so I do not allow that material to pass over the airways into my mind. Jesus taught that our eyes are lamps that provide light for our bodies. We need to be mindful of what we allow our eyes to take in because it affects our whole body.
“Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!” (Matthew 6:22-23)
When you allow yourself to have lustful thoughts, when your mind wanders to sinful places, when you think the swear words, when you think negatively about other people, all of this is loving yourself with all your mind. Those thoughts are for you, they’re not for God. We think them to satisfy our sinful natures. None of that is loving the Lord. So if we are going to follow and obey what Jesus said was the most important commandment, then we need to have better control of our minds.
Bob Russell once told a story about getting cable television installed. The installation guy set it up and told Bob that he would get three months of HBO and Showtime for free, but Bob said he didn’t want that. The man explained that it was not costing him anything, it was just a free trial they give to everyone who gets cable. Bob again said he didn’t want it. The man understood and did not activate the free trial. Bob Russell understands the importance of loving God with all your mind and always having strong defenses against attack. I’m not sure I would have that level of integrity and self-control. I would probably tell myself that I would only watch the good things and not the bad things on those networks—after all it’s not like I asked for it! But that is a slippery slope and it is not putting up a strong defense against the Enemy.
So love the Lord your God with all your mind by having integrity about what goes into your mind and controlling your thoughts so that they honor God and show that you love Him.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.