During our first few years of marriage, my husband Billy and I went through very difficult financial circumstances.
To give you a little background info…I had waited 7 years as a single Christian woman for the Lord to bring me my husband. I had always dreamed and prayed for financial security and stability…and I remember thinking, “One day when I get married, I will finally not have to live paycheck to paycheck! My husband will provide for me and take care of me and life is going to be wonderful!” Hmmm…Any single ladies out there ever feel this way?
Since I didn’t know when I was going to be married and being in my 30’s, I purchased my first home. After more years went by…and still no husband … the economy was booming, so I decided to invest in a new Condo to give me some financial security.
When I met my husband Billy, he did well for himself. He had a fairly new baseball business which was growing and he also did some investing during this thriving real estate market. He owned a home and purchased another for us to move into once we married.
Things were wonderful for about 6 months and then the economy crashed. My husband’s baseball business slowed down due to the decreasing demand for the luxury of paying someone to teach your child baseball…and along with that his side business of investing in real estate became non-existent.
To make a long story short…I was 8 months pregnant with our first child when we lost our home to foreclosure. At the very same time, we also lost the 2nd home my husband had owned prior to marriage. And then soon after that, we lost both homes that I had owned. We prayed and prayed and prayed and found ourselves losing more and more…I had to sell my car and soon after we filed for bankruptcy. Seriously? Was this really happening to us?
Talk about stress! …Talk about a reality check! …Talk about some major life changes! …Talk about my great credit score plummeting! (I had to get past the point that it was just a number and it didn’t define me) …Talk about a new baby being born in the midst of these financial difficulties!
Where are we to go? What are we going to do? Lord, why did we have to lose so much? I just don’t understand…
In the passage below, Jesus explains to us not just one of his commands but the most important commandment He wants us to follow.
28One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.31The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31 NIV
These scriptures are so significant because Jesus is stating the most important commandment for us to follow! He says in verse 30 that the most important commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Not just part of our hearts…not just part of our soul…not just part of our minds…and not just part of our strength! He says…all!
Is that really possible?
This commandment in Mark 12:30 is also expressed in other books of the bible like in Matthew 22:37 and Luke 10:27 of the New Testament and it is actually first seen in the bible in the Old Testament in Deuteronomy 6:5.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.5Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV
So check this out! …If you read through these scriptures too quickly, you will think they are all identical. But what is so interesting to note here is the first 3 books of the New Testament Matthew, Mark, and Luke (sometimes referred to as the Synoptic Gospels because of their similarities in structure, content and wording) add one way which we are to love God that is not mentioned in Deuteronomy 6:5.
Looking at all these scriptures, we can see that Jesus inserts the word “mind”…to love the Lord your God with all your mind! He makes it explicit that our minds are an integral part of loving our God.
So I believe there is significance in Jesus adding that we are to love God with all our mind. Especially as women, we have a great tendency to struggle with our thoughts…to battle with our thoughts…to wrestle with our thoughts! We tend to focus, worry, and become anxious …We have the tendency to become consumed by our problems to the point that it will ruin our day and make us less productive.
How many of you hear me on this? How many of you can relate? I know I can! Our minds are so important because our thoughts affect our actions and behavior.
So just how exactly do we love God with all our mind? Reflecting on the difficult financial situation I experienced above…
How do I love the Lord with all my mind…when I can’t figure out why I am going through this difficult challenge in my life?
How do I love the Lord with all my mind…when I pray and pray and know He has the power to change my circumstances in an instant…and yet He doesn’t?
How do I love the Lord with all my mind…when I feel a huge knot in my stomach everyday making want to throw up from the stress I am facing?
How do I love the Lord with all my mind…when I am tired of fighting and fighting and just flat out don’t feel like it fighting anymore?
These were some of the thoughts and feelings I experienced when going through this difficult time in my life…
Are you going through a difficult circumstance right now in your life? Even if you aren’t, are you loving God with all your mind?
So how do we love God with all our mind?
1) It’s a Decision.
Loving God with all our mind is a conscious decision.
We have a choice whether to love God with all our minds or not. We have a choice to trust Him or doubt Him. We have a choice to dwell on our pain, on our weaknesses, on our failures, on our negative circumstances…or we can choose to let these things turn us to God.
By making these choices we are choosing to love God with all our mind. By making these choices we can control what we think about regardless of our feelings. By making these choices we can take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ and consequently we can fill our minds with Godly thoughts.
We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ… 2 Cor 10:5NASB
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Phil 4:8 NIV
2) It’s Daily.
Loving God with all our mind is daily.
It is renewing our minds every day…not just some days. It is saying “no” to our flesh, and saying “yes” to God. It is a continual renewal of our minds daily.
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. Luke 9:23 NASB
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2NIV
3) It’s Developed.
Loving God with all our mind is developed.
It is a process of growth and development as you grow in your relationship with God. Your love for Him grows as you get to know Him better. Your love for God grows when you experience and understand His love for you.
So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God . Ephesians 3:17-19 NIV
Your desires will begin to align with His desires. As you spend more time praying and reading His word, your faith and trust in Him will grow.
Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17
So as Christians, we can love the Lord our God with all our mind…Even when we don’t understand…Even when we pray and pray and God doesn’t answer our prayers how we want Him to…Even when we feel stressed and anxious…Even when we are tired of fighting and fighting…(Proverbs 3:5-6 ,Isaiah 55:8, Philippians 4:6-7 , Isaiah 40:31)
Having experienced this difficult financial season our life, Billy and I are so thankful that God not only has given us a 2nd chance at being better stewards of our finances but also for giving us so many opportunities to encourage others to continue to love God through their difficult seasons.
1) Are you going through a difficult circumstance in your life right now?
2) Do you feel that you are loving God with all your mind…every day?
3) What keeps you from loving God with all your mind?
4) What can you do to help you to love God with all your mind?
Loving God with all your mind is…a Decision, Daily, and Developed. Check out the scriptures listed above.