Have you ever told someone you loved him or her with all your heart? You probably have. But have you ever told someone that you love him or her with all of your mind? I just told my wife that. She laughed at me. When I asked her why she laughed she responded that it was funny to hear because usually we say we love someone with all of our heart, not mind. But would it surprise you to know that we are commanded to love with our minds? This command is from one of the most famous passages in the Bible, but we don’t usually think in this way. Matthew 22:37 says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
Now, let’s skip over the heart for a moment. We are all familiar with loving God and one another with our hearts (our emotions). And we can think of a few ways to love someone with our strength (Deuteronomy 6:5)—physical protection, serving a physical need, sex, and so on. But how do you love someone with “All of your mind?” The mind is the center of our being. Even our emotions come from our mind. We are, to a degree, what we think. And what we think about the most tells us what we love the most. What do you spend your time thinking about the most? I spend a lot of time thinking about things from scripture and praying for family and friends. Everyday I think about not only my wife and kids, but my siblings, their kids, and my parents, and I pray for them constantly, often multiple times a day. These people and things occupy my mind a great deal of time. That tells me I am passionate about them. I know that I love them because I think of them so often. What do you think about?
What does the scripture tell us about love and the mind? It might surprise you to learn that there is actually a lot in the scripture about love, the mind, what we think about, and what we dwell on. Consider these truths:
Peace comes through the mind, not the heart or emotions. Romans 8:6 says, “To set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
Sometimes people try to discern the will of God by what they “Have a peace about.” But this is not a biblical practice. Peace is a byproduct of a decision. The will of God is actually discerned through the mind. “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God” (Romans 12:2). In fact, the act of renewing our mind is an expression of love for God. “Be renewed in the spirit of your minds” (Ephesians 4:23). “If there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy,
complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”
How can we love God with our minds? The scripture gives us several insights. Humility of mind pleases God. “Everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment…Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly” (Romans 12:3,16). “In humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). Humility is a great way to foster unity, which God also loves. “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus” (Romans 15:5). “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment” (I Corinthians 1:10). “Stand[ing] firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27).
Setting our minds on Heavenly things fosters greater love for God. How often do you think about your coming experience in Heaven? Do you spend time wondering what it will be like? “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2). God not only wants us to think about these things, but on all things that are good and he wants us to go beyond just thinking about them, he wants us to dwell on them—turning them over and over in our minds until they impact our hearts. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16). “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).
Instead of plopping yourself down in front of the TV tonight, or playing that computer game, why not take an hour and think about all of the good things in your life and what awaits you in Heaven. Dwell on them, thank God for them, wonder and ponder over them and see how it transforms your attitude. Read scripture passages about all that is good in the world and what awaits you. Practice what Paul described when he said, “Take every thought captive to obey Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5).
Loving God with all of our heart and all of our strength begins in the mind. Without the mind, we can’t fulfill this command of scripture, because the mind is so central to our being. So, let scripture fill your mind. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in your loving mental expressions to Jesus. Then you will truly fulfill Jesus’ command to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”