When asked what is most important for gaining eternal life, Christ Jesus asked his questioner what he found in the law. The man replied, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself” (Luke 10:27). Jesus approved the answer, confirming that life’s primary purpose is to love God, and all of His children.
Jesus bore this message throughout his entire ministry, and it hints at how much and how deeply he must have loved God. His constant, overflowing adoration of God, whom the Bible calls Love, gave him the means to heal the sick and sinning, feed crowds, and even overcome death.
There are countless ways to love God. In the account mentioned above, Jesus approved four: love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind. This central directive was followed by the encouragement to love others with the same degree of love that we have for ourselves.
To love God with all our heart is tremendously empowering. It is to commit the whole of one’s very being both to appreciating and serving God. It is to give up our own personal heart’s desires for God’s purpose alone. This brings the power of divine Love to bear on our thoughts and actions and enables us to do much good.
For example, Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the worldwide Christian Science movement, experienced this firsthand and said, “The little that I have accomplished has all been done through love,—self-forgetful, patient, unfaltering tenderness” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 247).
Giving your heart of hearts over to divine Love opens the door through which God can, as the Bible puts it, “[work] in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
God’s “good pleasure”—what pleases Him—is love lived, love felt, love expressed. Living to shine with the light of Love shows in your outward attitude. Loving God with all our heart can mean that, even when doing a basic task, we express deep, intentional love all the way through it. A side effect is that we feel blessed beyond our asking.
Loving God with all our soul means hungering for spirituality and for the beauty of divine knowledge. This provides many treasures, including truly lasting fulfillment. Jesus taught, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). Material satisfactions are short-lived and transitory.
All the words ever written or spoken about divine Love are needed and beautiful, yet the substance of them isn’t experienced until God’s love is deeply felt and expressed.
As a student of Jesus, Mary Baker Eddy subscribed to all of the Master’s counsel. She asks in her book on scientific Christianity, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Dost thou ‘love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind’? This command includes much, even the surrender of all merely material sensation, affection, and worship” (p. 9).
Merely material sensation, affection, and worship are the counterfeits of the enduring spiritual substance that divine Love constantly provides everyone. Christian Science reveals that Spirit alone is true substance, and loving God with all our soul is looking wholly to God, Spirit, for satisfaction. When we hunger and thirst not after materiality but after righteousness and pure, unselfish goodness, our desires are met abundantly.
And, in our love for God, we don’t invest only a mediocre effort. No, with all our strength we are to love genuinely and outwardly, when alone or in a crowd, and are thereby enriched and fulfilled. To love only on rare occasions, or only out of obligation, accomplishes little. Instead, the Bible tells us to constantly and willingly “do all to the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31). Each day, with all our strength, we can eagerly relish doing so!
To love God with all our mind involves choosing God’s perspective and will instead of our own. This opens us to opportunities for progress and growth, which are always present. Jesus’ example shows that it is a simple choice, really. We advance spiritually to the degree that we obey only God’s loving will. This means keeping disciplined about the direction of our thoughts, not indulging in mental side trips into things God never made, such as self-glory, revenge, or timidity. Why spend time speculating about what might be, when there is only one Truth, one reality—divine Love and its perfect manifestation or creation, described in the first chapter of Genesis? Instead we can perfect our expression of the love of God, step by step, by keeping God’s truth in our hearts. Even in the smallest details of living, we can be a transparency, thought by thought and act by act, for the divine Love who is God.
Always, it is loving God with all one’s heart, soul, strength, and mind that identifies one as a follower of Jesus. He also said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). Do we really have enough love within us to love everyone? We would not if it were some sort of personal, humanly originated love with which we were supposed to love others. Instead, we draw entirely on God’s ceaseless and boundless love!
You can experiment with God’s tremendous love in order to learn more about it. Try this: The next time you’re praying, behold God loving someone who appears to be your enemy. God’s love is absolutely infinite, so there is enough to wash clean all impressions of evil, hatred, or selfishness as belonging to anyone. Quietly behold God’s love resting on all, including that individual, who is actually a spiritual creation of God. Don’t allow the inspiration to become diluted; let divine Love provide you with the power to stay mentally clear about what’s spiritually true.
In thinking once more about the answer to that vital question asked of Jesus—What is most important for gaining eternal life?—how can we measure accurately the degree to which our life-giving love for God is growing? Science and Health tells us: “If divine Love is becoming nearer, dearer, and more real to us, matter is then submitting to Spirit” (p. 239).
More often now, let what you love and think about be Spirit, God. Your prayer can be to become conscious of how, in reality, each individual is always divine Love’s child and, by reflection, filled with all that is loving and good. God’s great love is constantly active in each of us, governing all that we feel, know, and experience.
All the words ever written or spoken about divine Love are needed and beautiful, yet the substance of them isn’t experienced until God’s love is deeply felt and expressed. Knowing God’s love, along with acting on it, brings us happiness. Doing so reveals more about the eternal nature of Life itself.
“Keep yourselves in the love of God,” the Bible says (Jude 1:21). Be active in your expression of God’s love. As you are, you’ll feel that you’re on the right track with your life, because, as Jesus affirmed, it is loving God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind that is everyone’s primary purpose.