Yes, absolutely, as long as we completely love Jesus. Let me explain.
When Jesus was asked which is the greatest commandment in the Law, he responded: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”(1)
What does it mean to love the Lord with all your heart? Often times, and in this case, “heart” and “soul” are used interchangeably.(2) I think it is well worth it to point out that the heart is the center of our personal life. Romans 2:15 tells us that the heart is the seat of consciousness, which where our evil desires arise. Due to the Fall it is naturally wicked and can only be regenerated in the saving work of Christ. Only then will we willingly obey the Lord’s command to love Him with all our heart…soul…and mind.
What does it mean to love the Lord with all your soul? Simply put, it means to love the Lord with every ounce of affection you have. The soul is what transcends our physical body when we die. The spirit, which has arguably been said to be a faculty of the soul, along with the mind, will, intellect, desires, and so forth, is how we communicate with God. The word soul, as used in this Scripture (also see Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27), refers to one’s affections. The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible refers to loving the Lord with all your soul as with one’s entire affection.(3) As moms, we strive to give our kids everything, especially to show them love. But are we loving them with our entire affection and giving God the leftovers?
Loving the Lord with all your soul is the same as with all your mind, right? Wrong. These two words couldn’t be more different. The word “mind,” as used in this passage is dianoia. In the original language it means engaging in “deep thought,” representing the faculty of the mind, and exercising “mind, thought, and understanding.”(4) This refers to the thinking faculty. As moms, this is where we often fall short with our kids. When we see the word “mind,” we tend to relate it to our new age view of meditation. Now, don’t get me wrong. We are told to meditate on God’s word. However, that is not what this passage is saying. It is telling us to love the Lord our God with all our mind; to engage in deep thought, practice understanding, and to think intellectually about God. Until I was thrust into this type of practice in formal education, deep, intellectual thought about God was not on my mind. Now, with two children, I see why this is part of the great commandment.
In short, our children are being attacked by Satan continuously. If you have ever seen your baby snatch a toy from another or watch your toddler throw down in the grocery store for not getting that cookie right then, you know what I mean. So, as a “good Christian mom” you use discernment and either patiently wait for them to quit or scoop them up and run to the bathroom as quickly as possible for discipline. Unfortunately that is just the beginning.
In his 2011 book, You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith, David Kinnaman addresses several reasons young people are leaving the church, two of which are lack of relationships inside the church and not having a safe place to express concerns of doubt.(5) Based on his empirical research, Kinnaman writes, “Young adults are more likely than any other age group to believe that Jesus sinned, to doubt the miracles Jesus performed, and to express skepticism about his resurrection.”(6) If this doesn’t scare you, Mom, I don’t know what will. Satan wants to devour our children and it starts inside the church. Jesus is Christianity. Can you make the case for Jesus as a historical, sinless, ultimate miracle worker who defeated death to your children?
Loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind isn’t just an option, it is a requirement. We should diligently be assessing our motives and desires, as matters of the heart and soul, and seek to obtain a greater understanding of God and Jesus, simultaneously through Scripture and reason. Then, we will love Jesus completely, and our kids will learn to love Him too.
Consider Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:
“…from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (v. 9-10, esv).
This is my prayer for you and I, as keepers of the coming generation. As Kinnaman uses in the opening page of You Lost Me:
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
He doesn’t change. We do. Let’s get back to the faithfulness that He seeks from us; heart, soul, and mind.
(1) Matthew 22: 36-39
(2) Also see Duet. 6:5, 26:15 and Mark 12:30 and 33.
(3) The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible, p. 2332
(4) Ibid, p. 2083
(5) David Kinnaman, You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith, 2011, p. 44-57
(6) Ibid, p. 24.
Victoria Harris holds an M.A. in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Victoria is a lover of Jesus, a wife, biological mom of a preschooler and adoptive mom of a tween. She is a former Miss Florida Teen USA and Mrs. Florida United States. Follow her on twitter @VictoriaDHarris, Facebook at www.facebook.com/vdharris or instagram @VictoriaHarrisInsta.
Victoria is a wife, mom, ambassador of Jesus, and a lover of all things that involve learning.