I was reading this evening in the book of Joshua, chapter 22, and was gripped by the words in verse five: "But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul." I was not surprised by any new truth here, but rather the opposite. I was once again awe-stricken by the incredible consistency of God's character and expectations of his people, from Old Testament times to the first century A.D. to the day in which we now live.

From the beginning of created time until now, and continuing on until the sphere of time ceases to exist, God has willed to love and be loved by his creation. And this not because he was lonely or incomplete apart from us, but simply and entirely because of the overflow of his inherent lovingkindness and insurpassible creative ability. He created us because he is God. We need not know, nor can we know, any more reason than this. But my heart and mind have been captured by this question, presented in light of a whole host of scripture passages in addition to Joshua 22:5 (See Deuteronomy 6:5, 11:1, 13 & 22, 30:16 & 20, Psalm 31:23, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27, and Colossians 3:23-24):

What does it look like when a person loves Jesus Christ with ALL of his or her heart, mind, soul, and strength?

I imagine many of us are tempted to look at ourselves in the mirror and say, "Well, they'd probably look a lot like... well... me." But let us for a moment pray in accord with David's prayer in Psalm 139:23-24:
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts! See if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way."

When we're honest with ourselves and with God, we can't help but acknowledge that there are many dark corners, even vast arenas, of our lives that we are keeping from Christ, our Lord. Each of us has room to grow in our knowledge, love, and likeness of our Savior. With this in clear view, how might we answer the question posed before us: What does it look like when a person loves Jesus Christ with ALL of his or her heart, mind, soul, and strength?

What general characteristics would be consistent in every such life? What specific decisions, attitudes, and/or behaviors should we expect to see? What would it look like in your life? I'm eager to hear your thoughts. Chances are very high that there are areas in each of our lives that can only be actualized as expressions of our love for God as they are brought to light by our brothers and sisters in Christ. We all have so much to learn from one another. I have a lot to learn from you. What can you teach me? My eyes and ears are open.

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