Honestly, I have a deep desire to learn how to love God more, but I need help staying focused. Life comes at us with so much force, busyness creeps in and somehow passion slips away. Add to that the mental fatigue of raising kids, homeschooling, trying to be a godly wife, anxiety that never relents, and chronic pain and health concerns… It is hard to stay focused, let alone love the Lord with all your mind. Can you relate?
Philippians 4:8 Teaches How To Love The Lord With All Your Mind with 10 practical steps. Click To Tweet
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment” (Matthew 22:36-38 NASB)
We Need Help To Love the Lord With All Your Mind
A few years ago I had an aha moment as my quiet time became dry and sporadic… again It’s not enough to know the greatest command in Scripture – to love God will all my heart, soul, and mind – I need help to live it out.
We’ve talked a lot this year about the command to love the Lord your God in Matthew 22. So far we have seen:
- What verse is love the Lord with all your heart?
- What does it mean to love the Lord with all your strength?
But how do you love God with all your mind? Today we will see 10 ways to love the Lord with all your mind.
The Battle To Love God With All Your Mind
There is a real battle going on in our lives, especially when we choose to love God more. Can we even love with our minds? That just seems… Well, it sounds hard for every thought to honor God.
The problem is that my mind gets filled up with a lot of stuff. Can you relate?
- To-Do lists.
- Lists of things I never get to.
- Expectations I fall short of.
- Expectations my spouse falls short of.
- Writing ideas.
- A bit of jealousy over things I missed out on.
- Fear of all the things I could be missing out on.
And Anxiety… My mind turns to goo sometimes when this very unrelenting mental illness strikes! The battle is real and the enemy has been studying you. These are thing things he hits me with. He may use different things for you, but the battle is still there.
The Mind Is A Battlefield
Do the things that fill your minds show God love?
All those worries about what I miss out on, do not show love to God. Obsessing over unmet expectations does not show love to God. It is a battlefield in my mind daily to love the Lord with all my mind!
A mind is a tricky place, but I am learning to take my thoughts captive and replace them with thoughts that honor God – one thought at a time.
What Does It Mean to Love The Lord With All Your Mind?
How can I love God more deeply? We learn how to love God more by studying His Word. Now, I don’t mean just reading the Bible as fast as possible to check that task off my religious to-do list. I mean slowing down while you read the Scriptures, learning to love the Lord your God verse by verse!
Sometimes I stay camped out in a single verse for months at a time because I want to better understand each word. Often the words had a different meaning 2000 years ago and if I just skim the passage I miss what God wanted to say.
What does it mean to love the Lord God with all your mind? Spend time with Him! Be present in that time instead of letting your mind run wild.
Related Post: How To Slow Down My Quiet time
Time With God
Time with God can look like many things.
- Read the Bible
- Write the Scripture
- Meditate on/Memorize the Word
- Church attendance
- Singing to the Lord
- Quiet time in His presence
To love God with all your mind begins with spending time with Him. Once you are in the habit of spending time with Him daily, then you begin going deeper. How do you go deeper? Love the Lord with all your mind meaning get your thoughts together!
Philippians 4:8 Teaches How To Love The Lord With All Your Mind
We know that to love the Lord with all your strength you give Him each area of your life, serving Him in every activity. Loving the Lord with all your mind is like that. You give God every thought, serving Him in each one.
Now, this is not about perfections, we will slip into wrong thinking from time to time. No, this is about staying in the process with God. When you realize your mind is off track, you confess that and get back to it!
Philippians 4:8 gives clear directions about exactly what thoughts show God love.
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 NASB)
A Word Study
Click on the linked words to study with me and find practical ways to apply each word to your thought life.
- Finally, brethren, whatever is…
- This piece focuses on what types of thoughts we can change.
- Is this thought factually true or filled with emotion?
- Is this thought of the highest opinion of the person or situation?
- Is this thought of the right or righteous things to do?
- This is all about fighting the enemy for purity of thought in a sex-saturated culture.
- Is there an acceptable, pleasing quality to this thought about that person or situation?
- Of good repute
- If this thought left my mouth, would it ruin a friendship or the person’s reputation?
- If there is any excellence
- Is that thought morally good? How do we know what is morally good?
- and if anything worthy of praise,
- Does this thought lead me toward worshiping God?
- dwell on these things”
- We’ll finish off with this bit today.
Is It Really Possible to Love God With All of My Mind?
This seems like one of those Church questions. The answer should be, “Yes, by just trusting God more,” right?!?!?
But raise your hand if you (like me) need a real answer that works when kids are acting crazy, or your husband is doing that thing again, or you are in pain that won’t let up, or temptation comes at you in a moment of weakness!
Real practical tools are what I need to love God more deeply. How about you?
Yes, our mind can love God. Our thoughts can glorify and honor God. But How? To get there we need to focus on the last phrase in the verse.
“… dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 NASB)
Dwell On These Things
We do not use the word dwell much anymore. When I think about it, the word dwell makes me think about home. The place where I:
- Spend most of my time
Can we dwell on a thought?
What does it mean to dwell on the thoughts that love God will all your mind?
To dwell means to calculate, to weigh, to meditate.
Hm… Meditate is a word that comes up in the scripture a lot. Have you noticed?
“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” (Joshua 1:8 NASB)
To dwell or meditate on those thoughts means – we should be continually thinking through the good thoughts:
- True thoughts
- Honorable thoughts
- Just thoughts
- Pure thoughts
- Lovely thoughts
- Friendly thoughts
- Excellent thoughts
- Praiseworthy thoughts
When we do, it will leave no room in our minds, or time in our days, to dwell on the negative things that destroy our peace.
Love and Marriage And Loving God With My Mind
All of that sounds well and good but I love a good example don’t you? My husband, Bud, has graciously agreed to let me share openly about anything in our marriage with you, the beautiful community at HopeJoyInChrist. It is our hope that through sharing our mistakes, we can help at least one other couple learn how to have a godly marriage.
Work Is a Common Issue An a Millennial Marriage
Going into this marriage I knew my husband struggled to hold down a job. At the time, starey-eyed and optimistic, I was sure it didn’t matter. I was a workaholic on a career path – ambitious and self-motivated. We would balance each other out!
It took a few years to realize the drain this revolving door of jobs was having on him and me. The thoughts in my head were nasty, certainly not peaceful, and those thoughts came out of my mouth regularly.
When our youngest was born we decided it would be best if I stayed home for a few years to raise the kids. Talk about a trust fall. How could I stay at home if he couldn’t hold a job?
That was about the time all the pieces began to fall apart in our marriage. They were barely holding together as it was, but the demands of motherhood took any ability I had left to fight spiritually and I was working at things in the flesh.
One of the biggest problems at the time was my anxiety.
I have always struggled with anxiety, but alone all day with kids left too much room in my mind for negative thoughts to seep in. All day, they were left unchecked, and by the time Bud got home, I was a mess.
I started by learning Matthew 22, our love the Lord with all your heart verse. Then He showed me this came from the Old Testament. Love the Lord with all your heart, Deuteronomy 6:5 actually says to meditate on the things of God all throughout your day.
10 Ways To Dwell on Good Thoughts and Love God With All Your Mind
I had memorized Matthew 22:36-38 and Deuteronomy 6:5, but I still struggled. It wasn’t until I began to practice Philippians 4:8 that things changed. Actually, this happened about the same time I was focusing on learning how to forgive my husband, but we’ll talk about that another time.
This is how I applied the process of Philippians 4:8.
“We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6 NASB)
We can’t control what thoughts come into our minds, but we can choose what we keep and what we pitch. So every single thought that came into my mind about Bud was taken captive and examined for the first few weeks.
That’s it, the first step to love the Lord with all your mind is to just write them down and evaluate if they meet the 8 criteria of Philippians 4:8.
Emotional thoughts like, “He should be able to do this by now,” and, “We’ll end up homeless if I depend on him to provide,” were given no room.
Instead, I wrote down true thoughts so I could replace the bad.
- “He is trying to find a good job.”
- “He loves us and is doing his Best.”
- “God will take care of the gaps he can’t cover – because He always Has provided for us.”
Related Post: How To Pray To God Your Provider
Low opinion thoughts were given no space. Do you have thoughts that show your low opinion of others? It was so bad at the time, that I had to dig deep to find honorable things to replace them with.
I had to brainstorm for a long while to find thoughts that held a good opinion of him. Some of mine were:
- “He put himself back through High School to do better.”
- “He hasn’t just left us but is still trying to figure this out.”
I wanted to lash out at him every time he changed jobs, because it hurt our family. But anytime a vengeful thought came I asked God to help me stop it in its tracks.
Instead, I reminded myself that God had called us to this new life (as a stay-at-home mom) and that was the right thing for our family. Also, I remembered that God was still in control and would be growing Bud through each hard situation.
The enemy will find any kink in your armor and attach hard. Purity of thought has always been a struggle for me, but it is harder in difficult seasons of marriage.
I had to commit to not thinking of anyone else romantically which meant no romance books or movies to tempt me. I also spend a lot of time praying for God to heal this area of our marriage and my mind.
Lovely thoughts are about looking deeper than outward appearance. This is tough when things are not going well.
Instead of seeing his ratty clothes on Sunday, I had to look into his heart and be thankful he would go to church.
Instead of criticizing the mistakes, he made at work I had to listen to see what they revealed about his character. In doing the last piece, I saw him as a just person who was highly offended when others are taken advantage of. All lovely things about who he is as a man and things I missed before.
When all your thoughts are on your his faults you do not see him with a good reputation. To stop this was so hard but I said to myself “If I wouldn’t say this out loud I can’t think it either.”
Instead of anger about his job-hopping, I thought of the day he was saved. Instead of anger at his lax parenting style, I thought of him sitting to read a story to the girls. Slowly but surely I thought good things about him.
As his wife, I see all his moral failures. It’s easy to focus there, but honestly, I also fail morally. Going through this process taught me how to extend grace to him.
When a thought comes to mind about his mistakes, I remind myself Christ died to forgive him and I should too. And I focused on the areas I was seeing him grow instead of where he might be messing up. Yes, they are there if you will just look for them.
Related Post: Hope In Marriage Hingest on 3 Way Grace
Oftentimes, my thoughts are task-driven and critical. To switch them to praiseworthy thoughts I had to be intentional!
- Reading Scripture helps me praise so I keep verses taped up where I am most often.
- Worship music helps so I keep a worship playlist on YouTube.
10. Dwell or Meditate on Those Things
There is something about writing down all the things that help me stay focused. Dwelling on these things or meditating on these better, more godly thoughts has helped me get peace of mind.
I still fail at times. Thoughts come into my mind and without meaning to I lose time thinking through the worst-case or hashing out an imaginary possible argument. But, when I fail, God is gracious to forgive me and help me get right back on track!
Will You Begin to Love the Lord With All Your Mind Today?
Where does this find you today? Are you struggling to find consistent time with God? Or are you there, but your thought life is wild and unchecked?
We all go through those seasons. You are not alone in the struggle to give God your mind! The best way forward is to pick one of the 10 ways to love the Lord with all your mind, click through and study it, then begin processing your thoughts to line them up with His.
Will you begin today?
in HIS love,
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