The Focus

HEART is the repository of one's deepest and sincerest feelings and beliefs. It is the capacity for compassion, love, affection,courage, resolution, and fortitude. The firmness of will required to carry out an unpleasant task or responsibility.

SOUL is the vital core of a person and is sometimes referred to as the seat of a person’s conscience. Soul is also used to refer to someone that embodies a principle or belief (she is the ‘soul’ of discretion.). It can also refer to a strong, deeply felt emotion conveyed by a speaker or a performer.

Strength is the inherent capacity to manifest energy, to endure, and to resist.

Mind is that part of a person that thinks and wills.

When Jesus was asked what it takes to inherit eternal life He responded by asking the lawyer what the law said and how he interpreted it. After the lawyer answered (You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all of your mind, and your neighbor as yourself), Jesus said that his answer was correct.

Love with all your heart means that you give all your beliefs, dreams, fears, hopes, disappointments, and joys to God without reservation or restraint. Hold nothing of yourself back.

Love with all your soul means that you are to be the embodiment of Jesus. Remember that the title Christian originally meant little Christ (or of Christ). We are to base our moral choices, opinions, and beliefs on those of Jesus.

To love with all your strength means that we must stand firm against all opposition. This does not refer to physical combat. It means we do not bow to pressure or whim. Do not deny Jesus. Actively live and proclaim your faith without concern for the opinion or support of others.

Love with all your mind means that you center your thoughts and consideration on Jesus and the will of God for you. Meditate on the word of God. Wrap your head around what God is telling you. Dwell on it. Think about it constantly. Pray consistently and constantly.

In essence these terms can be interchanged to mean much the same thing. What it all boils down to is that we are to love God so completely that we hold back nothing of ourselves. We do not give in to fear or doubt. When you love someone you often go out of your way to be sure that they have the things they need and/or want. How can we not do that and more for the one who gave us every thing. He who gave up His life to shield us from the wrath of God because we have not loved that completely.
Jesus was asked what it would take to have eternal life. When the lawyer told Jesus what the word of God came down to: Jesus said “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”
We are faulty and weak beings. Due to our fearful and selfish nature we hold back for fear of being hurt. We hurt others to avoid pain and discomfort. We avoid God because we do not want to face what we are or what we have done.
Even in the command to love others as we love ourselves is showing love to God. He wants the best for His children. In loving with all our hearts we must share the love He gave to us with the rest of humanity. Some times that love will seem harsh and must be unyielding. At other times it must be accepting of others without reservation. God corrects us when we behave in such a way as to hurt ourselves, but He always does this with unreserved love. God lifts us when we fall. It would be nothing but foolish pride for us to do any less.
There is nothing complicated in these two commands. There is nothing complicated about lifting weights. What must be understood is that however simple these commands are they are often difficult to follow. Our nature and training is to watch out for ourselves.
Something that is often overlooked or misplaced in many discussions about doctrine and problems in the church is following Jesus. If we do not follow Him then our love for Him is not what God demands that it be. If we truly surrender to God, take up our cross and follow Jesus then our love for Him cannot help but become more and more complete as we experience more and more of His love and power.
The way to eternal life is incredibly simple, but the first step is hard and often frightening. Just remember this; every step after that is easier if we just take the hand of Jesus. He shed His blood because we cannot pay the full price of our own crimes against those two great commands (Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself.) He stretched out His arms between God and us because we cannot reach. All we have to do is understand our need and take His hand. He will change and teach us. This will often be painful, but it will always make us better than we were.

Matthew 10:38, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23, Luke 10:25-28, John 10:27, John 12:26, and 1 Thessalonians 5:17