Wednesday, May 26, 2004
With All Your Strength: Engaging The Will
If you're going to be at Columbia World Outreach tomorrow night, you might want to skip reading this. I'm posting my thoughts and investigations into Mark 12 - specifically, Mk 12:30, where Jesus answers that the greatest command is to love God with all your heart/mind/soul/strength, and a particular emphasis on the word "strength" as it pertains to "your will" or "what drives you". That's what we're talking about tomorrow night, and it'll probably be vastly different from what gets typed out here. This is the rough rough draft, and since I don't have a lot of time elsewhere, I've decided to take my lunch break to just get some thoughts down and semi-organized. How's that?
Wait - listening to the radio before lunch, and they're mentioning a campaign to get South Carolina to secede from the union. Please tell me this is satire.
In Mark 12, Jesus is being confronted by various religious leaders. After answering all of the questions, He makes an impression on one more teacher, who asks, "What is the greatest command?" Jesus replies that God is the one and only Lord, and that we are to love Him with all our heart, all our mind, all our soul and all our strength - quoting from Deut. 6:4-5. He also adds that the second one is equal to the first - "Love your neighbor as yourself", quoting from Lev. 19:18. So all of this discussion is in the context of loving God and equally loving others as an outflow of our loving God (John 13:35, 1 John 4:19).
We can love God with all our heart - thinking of the "heart" as the seat of your emotions, where your feelings and emotions and passions are collected. We can love God with all our mind - thinking of the "mind" as the place where intellect, reasoning and understanding is rooted. We can love God with all our soul - thinking of the "soul" as your personality, your upbringing, your cultural and societal factors that make you "who you are". But what does it mean to love Him with all of my strength?
The word translated as "strength" in this verse is ISCHUS (Strongs 2479), and it looks like it's basically "ability, force, strength, might". It's also a derivative of ECHO (Strongs 2192), which is a little deeper. Four biblical usages are listed and they all fit together, but the one I think I want to focus on is #4 - "to hold one's self to a thing, to lay hold of a thing, to adhere or cling to - to be closely joined to a person or a thing". It seems to be an active being kind of word, one that's associated with you being firmly attached to something so that your will, or your strength in some way, is engaged in the effort.
Lunchtime over. Feel free to comment if you "will" - and I'll post more later tonight.