You shall love the LORD your God with all your soul. We try to satisfy our desires with all kinds of things. C.S. Lewis once wrote that the problem with our Christianity is not that God finds our desires too strong, but too weak. He said basically that we would rather fool around with drugs and alcohol and food and sex instead of finding the all-satisfying fulfillment of our souls in Christ. He equates it to being offered a vacation at the beach but turning it down because we’d rather play in a mud puddle in our backyard. We would rather have the immediate gratification of temporal, felt needs rather than the ultimate satisfaction of fellowship with Christ. Jesus talked about this in John 4. He went to Jacob’s well and saw a Samaritan woman. Jesus asked her for a drink of water which was completely inappropriate in the culture. Jews and Samaritans did not associate with one another. So she asked, “Who are you?” Jesus, “If you knew who I was you’d be asking me for a drink of living water. You drink my water and you won’t ever thirst again.” Jesus is the only one that can fully satisfy the longings in our heart and soul. Jesus is the only one that is strong enough to overcome our desire for sin.
Your soul is thirsty. My soul is thirsty. There is a book titled Soul Searching that came out a few years ago, and the basic premise of the book is that teenagers are constantly seeking to satisfy a longing in their souls, and they are filling it up with drugs, sex, and grandpa god – a god that basically could be summed up as this pie-in-the sky old man that just wants you to be happy and healthy. That is not the God of the Bible. Yes, he wants you to be happy, but he wants you to be happy in him forever! Not in his things, not in his blessings, and not in your health. He wants your soul to find it’s true satisfaction only in him! Nothing is going to bring satisfaction to their sinful, guilty, aching hearts besides God. I love what John Piper says about satisfying our soul: The pursuit of our soul’s satisfaction – our joy and delight and happiness – is not sin. Sin is the exact opposite: pursuing happiness where no lasting happiness can be found…Sin is trying to quench our unquenchable soul-thirst anywhere but in God.
You shall love the LORD your God with all your might. I take this to mean that there is an intentional effort. When you are utilizing all your might to accomplish something what else can you think about at that moment? If you’re power-lifting and you’re on your last set are you half-way thinking about getting the bar up, or making sure your knees don’t lock? No! You’re committed! You cannot think of anything else. Your whole attention is focused on that one task. Moses was basically saying to apply all of your might, all of your attention on your love for God.
This complete, utter infatuation with God stands in stark contrast to complete and utter infatuation with ourselves. Jesus told us that anyone who comes after him must take up his cross and follow. He must daily die to himself. Anyone who follows Christ must be willing to give up his own life because anyone who desires to keep his life, in other words loves himself, will lose his life, and anyone who loses his life for Christ’s sake will find it.