“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with your entire mind, and with all your strength”, Mark 12:30 

We may easily read over this verse and think we have understood it somehow. In all truth, this is a strange verse we may find ourselves looking at. We, also, easily mention it and recite it as something we know very well. Because it is a most known and common verse, it becomes so true and so easy that “this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the command of men”, Is.29:13. There is more and lots above the appearance of whatever we read here than we may come to think of. Let’s reason it out and tear it apart to make it whole.

We know that we will not always use all we have and are at once if we want something to be perfectly done and made. Many times, by using it all at once we loose and do not gain on perfection. If we hear we can’t speak all, and if we speak we can’t hear all. We know just as well that perfection and perfecting work seldom demands the whole of our strength at once aimed at one single point or spot. By using all of our strength in certain aspects of our lives, it will bruise and damage instead of taking full, responsible care of its demands. There is more to “all your strength, all your heart, all your soul” than we can imagine and think of. A crocodile which carries its babies in its mouth, cannot afford to use all its strength since the kind of work demands tenderness. Any person, who knows how to run fast, surely knows how to walk slowly. That person has strength available and free to be used or not to be used at all times.

Perfection, quite often, demands less strength than whatever we are capable of, love demands in many an occasion that we be still and quite above being frenetic and doing. We can take notice of what kind of concern Jacob had towards his herd and children because he loved them: “And he said to him, My lord knows that the boys are tender, and the flocks and herds with me are suckling. And if the men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die”, Gen.33:13. Love demanded from him to walk slower than he could. What he could do was not what he should do. What about loving with all our strength then, what has become of it? In the same way, to love with all our understanding (the way we so easily understand it to be) is not always perfection, since we know we get to the solution of many a thing once we stop thinking, fussing and reasoning about it in many a way. Many people receive resolutions to problems when the mind is at rest in God, quiet and unconcerned. To stop thinking and to stop reasoning is quite often a sign of great wisdom and not of the lack of any of it – it is often a sign of fulfilling the Law of love and not of breaking it. To have the mind free to think about the right things at the right times, is what it means as well.

Force is often synonymous of pretending – pretending in love, faith, patience or whatever else – more than of the genuineness of any of it. People force themselves to be or to become, because they do not have in them what to share and what to be naturally. People go buy flowers to give because they may lack the wisdom to ask for forgiveness. One may also buy flowers and ask for forgiveness in the same bundle. A forced faith is unbelief in the feast of love without the proper garments on. And faith and love need to be turned spotless, natural and clean for once too, 1Tim.1:5-7. It should just be there at all times and not be sought after. Whatever we think and believe to be “all our heart, all our strength, all our mind” is quite often sin and not readiness.

What does it mean, then, to love God with all we have and are, even above ourselves? I believe it means only that we should not love anything else with it, nor love God any other way or through any other kind of fire or strength than His, the one He enables through. It means that “you shall not have any other gods before me, you shall not serve them”, nor shall we attempt to serve God through the mind and the strength we supposedly gain from them. Salomon had a thousand wives. If we think carefully about it, we come to see that he hardly knew some of them that well. In fact, if he had three of them every day and not repeat the woman, it would take a whole year before he got to be with all of them. Nevertheless, they were wholly Salomon’s. It means they would not go around belonging to another just because they were not called in to Salomon’s chambers for a year or two.

The love towards God might be looked at after the same way, since it cannot belong to another, it cannot serve another if bored and impatient – not even serve self or good causes. All of it belongs and awaits God and God alone at all times, under starin or under light burdens. And, it cannot serve God through strange fire either, jumping in church as a way to praise a most holy, awesome, calm, stable and loving God so one may be called in. Noise is the seal of an inner lack of eternity within (constant strong mood, stability), since eternity never ends, nor does it have ups and downs to stop eventually. This Eternal Life that gets into man right here, stabilizes man from his roots on, since man knows and experiences it cannot end in him and man therefore needs not to hold on to it through his strength to keep the happiness of it in and close by or at the range of his sight to grab it when he thinks he is in need of it. Any man who has this Eternal Life within him, has faith, has love and has it all in the proper measure he needs at certain moments of his real need (and not in the measures of his imaginary or supposed needs). This is why we read that such as do believe, indeed have this eternal life in them already – it causes them to believe the right way. “He who believes on the Son has everlasting life”, John 3:36. If he hadn’t, he would not believe the right way at all. The absence of faith, or the presence of the wrong kind of faith, means the lack of life within from which to believe on properly. Do you want someone to believe in God? Bring him closer and take all his sins one by one from between such and God and Life will be there to start to cause faith to be there in the proper measure as well as in the proper state and by being of the proper kind and, also, as part of a fruit breeding from a proper, sound, spotless, real relationship.  

In all of this, we easily see and mark that “all our strength” is quite often a hindrance more than an asset in the faith, love, patience, care which God demands from us. We read, likewise, from the book which grants special emphasis on gaining wisdom at all costs and above all else that “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding”, Prov.3:5. We can conclude from here that the wisdom is there, should be there, to be used by God and not to be used all at once, nor to be leaned upon. Once God comes down, that kind of wisdom we gained must be available and not busy with something else, so He can use it in the measure He needs to. Salomon could call his thousand wives for a meeting somewhere and they would be there. He could, just as well, call upon one of them and the others would be in readiness at all times, since that’s what it meant to them to be his wives: to be his, to be ready to be called in at any time. The wives who were not called in did not resent it, but rather took it as an opportunity to mark and to remind them that they would be called in as well. If one had been called, anyone would and could just as well be next. None of them doubted the fact that they would be called in sooner or later.

Christian, you should give a greater thought about all of this, since you may be using your understanding and other resources to worry, to talk, to enjoy the world when God has not called you in yet and because you are bored in your situation. You may never serve another God with any of it, ever just because you think you should be making full use of it always. Why not use your time to be made a proper wife to Him since you have the time to be prepared and ready, instead, expecting and waiting for that special moment He shall call you in to His chambers of love?

To be ready means to be available to love God as He is. Amen.

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José Mateus