Worship Is Loving God

Matthew 22:37

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

37 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.

We don’t normally stop with reading just this verse, in fact usually when we use this passage it is a lesson on loving everyone. Since our emphasis this month is on worship, I want us to focus on the part of this teaching that deal with God.

If our worship is to be centered around God, then loving God is an act of worship. But how can we show the love that we feel towards God? It’s easy to say we love Him, but it is harder to show it.

Some ago, the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, MO made public 1,300 recently discovered letters that the late President wrote to his wife, Bess, over the course of a half-century. Mr. Truman had a lifelong rule of writing to his wife every day they were apart. He followed this rule whenever he was away on official business or whenever Bess left Washington to visit her beloved Independence. Scholars are examining the letters for any new light they may throw on political and diplomatic history. For our part, we were most impressed by the simple fact that every day he was away, the President of the United States took time out from his dealing with the world’s most powerful leaders to sit down and write a letter to his wife.

Bits & Pieces, October 15, 1992, pp. 15-16.

Loving God is not quite as easy as sitting down and penning a letter, or writing a poem. It’s more than singing a song or giving a tithe. Loving God is a totally encompassing way of life. Loving God was listed as the greatest of all the commandments by no less an authority than Jesus Himself!

Jesus said that if we love God first, then our love for others will grow because God is love. C. S. Lewis said

‘When I have learned to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now.”

We often look at this passage we just read and dismiss it casually by saying we are to love God with all our being; to love Him with all that we have. While this is certainly a truth, and an appropriate teaching, this morning I want for us to dig a little bit deeper.

Jesus broke our life down into heart, mind, and soul. Now Jesus never said anything recorded in scripture that didn’t have a reason. In other words there were no “slips of the tongue” everything that Jesus said was to teach or instruct us in a principle that was important.

So with that in mind, we see that He instructed us to love God with our HEART, with our SOUL, and with our MIND. Could it be that he viewed these as three separate areas that make up our being?

Love God With All Your Heart


Jesus said to love God with all your heart. We use this word to describe many things in our culture. We could be talking about the biological heart, which as you are surely aware is simply a muscle. It has no capacity for thought, or conscious action. It simply beats to the electrical impulses provided to it. Obviously Jesus means something more than this. Let’s look at how we use this one single word.

I could feel my heart pounding.

He has a bad heart.

He put his hand on his heart.

When she heard the news, her heart filled with joy.

She just couldn’t find it in her heart to forgive them.

I felt in my heart that our relationship was never meant to be.

a ruler without a heart

Have a heart! Can’t you see he needs help?


We also use it to say that someone cares: As in “He is all heart”. This definition of the word could be a little closer to the principle that Jesus is teaching us. We are to love God with that part of us that shows and gives compassion.

Another clue is in the definition of heart that calls it the center of moral activity for an individual. It is safe to conclude that the Christian should indeed love God from the moral principles that He has provided for us in His word, and by the guidance of His Spirit.

One of the religious movements in the contemporary church relies heavily on this sort of worship experience. In this movement the totality of worship is based on how it feels. Our feelings and emotions are what guides and directs worship.

The teaching, which is not in and of itself wrong, leads us to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance and places an emphasis on what is happening right now. It’s sort of an instant gratification style of worship that considers theology and doctrine to be for someone else.

There is something to be said for a worship that is spontaneous and spirit filled. In fact, that sort of worship is certainly something we should want to be a part of, however it is incomplete. We run into a danger when we let our hearts guide us.

Galatians 6:9

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

The danger is that we lose heart. Sometimes our heart is just not in it. Maybe we have a cold, maybe our back hurts, maybe our children are driving us crazy, whatever the reason we come to worship and our heart is weary.

Love God With All Your Soul


Another trend in ministry is the idea that ministry is about action.

James 1:22

King James Version (KJV)

22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

We can listen to God’s word and achieve an emotional response but what good does that really do us? What have we profited from an emotional high, and how have we helped those around us with that emotional release?

This style of worship demands that we bout our whole being into action in order to worship. Like the “heart” Christians, there is nothing inherently wrong with this approach. Indeed, it is Biblical in nature as we have seen in the passage from James a moment ago.

It is good for us to put action to our talk, but the risk in this is that our work become more important to God. It is in our nature to get caught up in the importance of what we are doing and feeding the ego becomes paramount.


Love God With All Your Mind


There is an opposing movement in Christian circles that totally rejects emotional worship and places a strong emphasis on intellectual pursuits. Theology and doctrine become the entire basis for worship.

The mind of man is a very powerful force indeed. Winston Churchill said “The empires of the future are the empires of the mind. We have not even scratched the surface of the capacity of the human mind to adapt and to grow. God created us with an innate curiosity and desire to learn.

This word, too, is a word that we toss around in so many ways it’s hard to keep track. Here are some examples:

He read great literature to develop his mind.

It’s important to keep your mind active as you grow older.

He went for a walk to help clear his mind.

the mysteries of the human mind

My mind is always open to new ideas.

You can’t argue with him. His mind is closed.

I can’t concentrate: my mind is always wandering and I can’t keep it focused on anything.

The smell of pine sends my mind back to childhood.

The idea behind using the mind in worship is a valid point: “If I learn more about God I will be closer to Him”. There is nothing at all wrong with this motivation in our worship. Indeed God’s word tells us to study to show ourselves approved.

Paul tells us in Romans to renew our mind:

Romans 12:2

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.


The danger in this form of worship is that it can become cold, legalistic, and even lifeless. Without emotion the coldness of logic can be suffocating and can stifle growth.

WORSHIP God With All Three

In any given church, on any given Sunday we will find Christians that are more comfortable loving God with any of these three elements that make up who we are. Some people are comfortable with their emotions while others see emotionalism as a weakness. One person may have an ordered logical mind while another may be better at being given a task and just being told to go do it.

There is no accident that Jesus touched on all three. I submit to you this morning that Jesus intended for His followers to actually use ALL three in our worship. He expects us to use our minds, and listen to our heart, and He absolutely expects us actively participate in ministry on all levels.

We are all different: PRAISE GOD! Let us accept our differences and love God through those differences.

In closing, Jesus laid out this principle of loving God with three keywords.

Love God with ALL…whether you are using your heart, your soul, or your mind, love God completely. Love HIM with all that you are.

Love God with all YOUR…We are to love God with what He has given to US! Our experiences and makeup are completely different from our brothers and sisters. We are created uniquely and we are supposed to be unique in our love of God.

Love God with all three (AND)….Jesus could have said to love God with all your heart, soul, mind. But instead He connected each word with that important word AND.

Let’s love God with all that we are, and let our worship show it!