Thursday, October 22, 2009

Love the LORD Your God, Part 4

In Deuteronomy 6: 5 God commands that his people love him with all their "soul". Here the Hebrew word is nephesh and indicates the totality of one's being. The heart speaks to the inner, immaterial part of the individual, but the nephesh speaks to the whole person--what we would call body and soul. Where the heart leads the body will follow.

In practical terms this means that if you love the Lord people will know because they'll see it in how you behave. Your body will be consecrated to his purposes, not your own gratification. Jesus said it this way: "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments" (John 14: 15 NASB). The person who says he loves the Lord but lives in willful sin lies and is deceiving himself. Obedience isn't the source of salvation. It is a distinguishing mark of salvation. The one who loves the Lord will open his heart and his hand to the poor. The one who loves the Lord will speak the truth. The one who loves the Lord will be faithful to his/her marriage vows. The one who loves the Lord will keep himself/herself sexually pure outside of marriage in thought and deed. The one who loves the Lord will not envy the blessings of his neighbor. In short, the one who loves the Lord will live a life of integrity, of righteousness, fulfilling the second table of the Law just as much as the first table.

Take a stand. Demonstrate your love for God by living the life that honors him. Take up the challenge issued by Paul to strive for the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3: 14). Make a difference where you live by demonstrating that the Christian life is a life that is different, and different in a good and positive way. "Love the LORD your God with all your soul."

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