A relationship with the Holy starts with the inner man. While external standards may be followed out of a sense of obedience, God is looking for something greater. He requires loving Him totally with the whole man. The Pharisees proudly paraded their external expressions of holiness, but Jesus classified these grandstanding hypocrites as “whited sepulchers.” They indeed appeared beautiful outwardly, but within they were full of “dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”
God calls us to love Him. Our external conduct is essential, but we must start with loving God with all that we are. Holiness then starts with loving God and not with a list of dos and don’ts. Problems with external issues of modesty arise when we have an incorrect starting point. Concepts of external righteousness must begin in the heart. If not, one is doomed to follow the Pharisaical pattern of hypocrisy.
With all thy heart…
Spiritually and mentally the heart is known as the seat of emotional life. The Greek word kardia represents the center of who we really are. It refers to the areas of the inner self, including: the volition, the mind, and the desires.
What is in the heart determines character and controls one’s will. The heart, this throne room of thought, must be guarded continually. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” The mouth reveals one’s heart.
Jesus also said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts.” A person commits murdering thoughts before he or she physically kills someone. Likewise, adultery and fornication is lived out in the mind first (Matthew 15:19). The writer of Proverbs declares, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
The source, the gate-way, to life begins in the mindset of the heart. In Jeremiah 17: 9-10 the Lord declares, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Daily we need the powerful Word of God to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
Ananias is a tragic study in early church history. This man conspired with his spouse to falsify their giving. He lied in his heart before he lied in his action. The problem could have been prevented when Satan first filled his heart with the unholy thought (Acts 5:3). Ananias entertained what he should have evicted. The thought went from temptation to conception, then from conception to action. The apostle Peter asked Ananias, “Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart?” Ananias and Sapphiras didn’t have a money problem, they had a thinking problem.
With all thy soul…
God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life and he became a living soul. The soul is essentially the breath of life. Both the Greek and Hebrew languages speak of the soul as being related to breath.
Just as God breathed life into Adam, we too come alive spiritually by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. John 20:22 states, “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:” Without the divine breath of the Holy Spirit we cannot be spiritually alive. The disciples in the upper room were waiting on the promise of the Father when “suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind.” Wind here literally means “respiration” (inhaling and exhaling air).
The Holy Spirit breathes new life—abundant life—into our motives and will. Loving and living for God becomes as natural as inhaling and exhaling.
The soul of man is synonymous with the will of man. It is the part of us that makes us who we are. If the heart is the passions of life, then the soul is the essence of life. People will generally do what they want because of what is in their soul. What motivates you? Are there any areas of life that do not belong to the Lord?
With all thy mind…
The mind here refers to the faculty of thinking. It alludes to one’s deep thoughts. The Greek word for mind here (dianoia) means “the exercise of mind,” or “the disposition of thought.”
Loving God requires adapting a new mind set. We are called to a new way of thinking. Coming to God requires repentance, which literally means to change one’s mind. A Christian must embrace a mental makeover. We are not called to serve Him as mind-numb robots. God created man with a unique ability to think. We are made in His image to conceptualize thought that will produce fruitful results.
Ask yourself this question: does my thinking line up with the Word of God? Many Spirit-filled believers understand loving God with their heart. They quickly respond to the Holy Ghost with their feelings and passions. They will shout on Sunday, but feel defeated on Monday. Why? They love God with the essence of their soul, yet they struggle in their mind. You can be victorious by loving God with your mind. Let your thinking and mind-set please Him and your actions will please Him.
How is your inner man? Search your heart. Love God with all you heart.