I’ve been really hesitant to write about Project Love for the month of May, because unfortunately, I don’t have much to share as far as a church-wide project. The reason for this is that the church-wide project for May (and really to go on for the rest of the summer) was Adopt-a-Lawn. We were encouraged to get together in small groups and adopt the lawn of an elderly/disabled person for the summertime…someone that was needing their yard taken care of and they were unable to do so themselves. Since I don’t have a lawn and can count on one hand the number of times in my life that I’ve mowed my parents’ lawn…I figured I probably wasn’t the best candidate for that project. Regardless, I’m really excited about June’s project and sharing that here! So before I can do that, I figured I should go ahead and get May out of the way.
The devotional thoughts for May did not really include any study questions to answer. But there is plenty of study material, as we look at the ways that we are required to love God: (1)with all of our heart, (2) with all of our soul, (3) with all of our mind, (4) with all of our strength, (5) and loving our neighbor as ourselves. For each of these, we look at the Hebrew and Greek words used, and what they seem to mean.
1. With all of your heart—This seems to imply the center of a man’s inward life, or that which gives a man life. We are to love God with all our hearts by nurturing the spiritual life within us that He has given us. We can do this by obedience to Him and by fellowship with His Spirit, which He has given us.
2. With all of your soul—The words used for soul throughout the Bible are used in various ways, but they literally mean “breath” or “a breathing creature.” They seem to be used most often in scripture to refer to the emotions, attitude, and will. So in order to love God with all of our soul, we must choose an attitude of love and worship and obedience to God, rather than letting our own emotions get in the way.
3. With all of your mind—This word is not used in the Old Testament commandment about loving God found in Deuteronomy, but the Greek word that Jesus uses in the New Testament refers to deep thinking exercising the mind. With this in mind, to love God with our intellect, with all of our mind, is to ensure that the thoughts we have and the decisions we make must consistently be right and true and aligned with God’s will.
4. With all of your strength—The words used here for strength mean forcefully or vehemently. This means that we must expend all the energy of our heart, soul, mind, and body in loving God and doing the things that He would have us to do.
5. Love your neighbor as yourself—As we are using all of our energy to love the Lord, we must also expend the same energy in loving others. The example Jesus gives is a stranger needing help on the side of the road. This implies that anyone that you would meet that would need help is your neighbor. You must love them and help them in order to be loving toward God.
There is only one question with this month’s devotional. It is the simple question: Does God have your all?