There are a lot of people who say they love God, but sometimes we wonder about that because their actions seem to contradict it.
Matthew’s Gospel tells us about an occasion when the religious leaders came to Jesus with a trap. They were trying to get Him to identify the greatest of the commandments. But instead of answering their question, He tells them how to love God and what it actually means.
Jesus said, “‘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 NLT). Jesus got to the heart of the matter about loving God.
To loosely paraphrase, Jesus was saying, “Guys, instead of trying to focus on all of these rules, try this. Just love God. If you love God as you ought to love Him, then everything will fall into its proper place.”
That is why Augustine, one of the early church fathers, said, “Love God, and do as you please.” That almost sounds insane, but it isn’t. If you really love God in the way the Bible tells you to love Him, then you’ll want to do what pleases Him.
When you love God “with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind,” it means that you love Him with every part of your being. To the ancient Hebrews, the word heart did not refer as much to the emotions as it did to the core of one’s being. For the Christian, the objective is not to focus on your heart; it is to focus your heart on God.