Love God With Your Strength

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.”Colossians 3:23

Jesus said the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength” (Mark 12:30).

As we’ve learned, God expects every one of us to mature in all of these areas. But he also knows each one of us tends to lead in one area. This means God has shaped you to most naturally be a talker (heart), feeler (soul), thinker (mind), or doer (strength).

Today we’re going to focus on loving God with all your strength.

Doers love God with their strength. They’re energetic activists the achievers, the accomplishers, the workers. They push things forward and make things happen in practical ways.

What is the purpose of doers in the world? Doers are here because the world needs contribution and doers can get the job done! They have initiative, energy, action, and a drive to achieve. In a practical sense, they often serve as the hands and feet of Jesus in the world.

But we all have flaws, and for doers, it’s overwork. Doers are always working. They have trouble stopping to think or feel. They are always busy!

Psalm 127:2 says, “It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves?”. If you’re a doer, that would be a good verse to put up on the mirror in your bathroom. God wants his loved ones to get their proper rest.

When you become a believer, your past is forgiven, you have a reason for living, and you have a home in heaven. But there’s something that doesn’t change when you come to Christ: Your personality doesn’t change. God doesn’t slow a doer down when you come to him. He just changes your direction. In fact, he wants to empower you. Remember, you got your personality from him.

Colossians 3:23 has great advice for doers: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people”.

If God made you a doer, then he wants to use you to get stuff done in the world. But you’re not meant to do it all, and you should never try to do it in your own strength.

It’s okay sometimes to do less not less for God, but less in other areas so you’ll have more time to do what matters most.

Loving God With Your Mind

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22

We’ve been looking at Mark 12:30: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. One way to restate this verse is love God with all your talk, all your feelings, all your thinking, and all your doing.

Although every person is called to do all of these things, God created each person to be stronger in one area. That means God has shaped you more naturally to be a talker (heart), feeler (soul), thinker (mind), or doer (strength).

Today let’s look at the thinkers, who most readily love God with their minds.

Do you know that you can love God with your intellect? When you develop and strengthen your mind, it’s an act of worship.

One way you can recognize a thinker is by this: When thinkers become believers, they fall in love with the Bible.

Psalm 119:97 says, “How I love your law! I think about it all day long”.

There is no other book in the world like the Bible! It has the answers to life’s questions, including why God put you here on earth.

We need thinkers—because the world needs consideration. Somebody has to be thinking through complex issues and the implications of what the rest of us are doing. We need people who think through tough problems and bring solutions to the table.

But thinkers need to be careful to also practice humility. The Bible says, “Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom” (Proverbs 3:7). Why? Because God is God, and you’re not.

Humility is a choice. James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord”. Humility is something you do to yourself. And it’s not denying your strengths; it’s being honest about your weaknesses.

Thinkers also need to be careful to practice what they know. If you know it, then do it! James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says”.

Your personality is unique and precious to God. When you use it to serve him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, you bring him glory!

Loving God With Your Soul

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.” Psalm 42:1

We’ve been looking together at the different ways you can love God. You can find these ways in Mark 12:30: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength”.

We all love God in all four of these ways, but each of us tends more naturally toward one than the others. God has shaped you primarily to be a talker, a feeler, a thinker, or a doer. Talkers most easily love God with their hearts. Feelers love God with their souls. Thinkers love God with their minds. Doers love God with their strength.

Today we’re going to focus on the feelers people who are strongest at loving God with all their soul.

The world can’t get by just on communication from talkers, consideration from thinkers, and contribution from doers. We also need the compassion of the feelers who love God best with their souls.

The word “soul” is used many different ways in the Bible. But most of the time, it’s used as a synonym for emotions. You see this a lot in the Psalms.

Psalm 42:1 says, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God”.

Every emotion known to humanity is in Scripture. The Bible talks about souls that are downcast, disturbed, satisfied, yearning, troubled, forlorn, joyful, bitter, thirsty, hungry, rejoicing, and delighted. Can you hear the passion in those words? Soul people feel their emotions.

Can you guess who else feels emotions? God. He gets angry, happy, sad, and everything in-between. You have emotions because you were made in God’s image.

God is passionate, and feelers represent that part of him in the world. They care deeply about issues, about people, and about knowing God. They can empathize with other people’s pain and problems.

They’re great examples of Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you”.

Feelers offer God’s compassion to the world. But, just like every other personality, they have their weaknesses. Feelers tend to be manipulated by their moods. Instead, they need to let God lead them.

The Bible says, “Let the Spirit direct your lives, and you will not satisfy the desires of the human nature” (Galatians 5:16).

When feelers are led by God’s Spirit, they still have feelings—but they’re not controlled by them. They let God’s Spirit lead them in deciding which feelings to follow and which to resist.

If you’re a feeler, be a Spirit-led one. Let God guide you to share with the world the passions he’s given you.

Loving God With Your Heart

“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” Mark 12:30

One day a man asked Jesus which, of all the commandments, was the most important. Jesus answered him like this: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength” (Mark 12:30).

That’s what it all comes down to. God didn’t put you on this planet to mark things off your to-do list. He put you here to learn to love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. But what does that really mean, and how do you do it?

Loving God with all your heart often happens when you’re talking it’s how you share the gift of communication with the world. Loving God with your soul happens when you’re feeling when you’re sharing compassion. You love God with your mind as you’re thinking when you’re giving consideration to people or ideas. And, finally, loving God with your strength happens as you’re doing when you’re making a contribution to the world.

Another way to say it is that you can love God with all your talk, all your feelings, all your thinking, and all your acting.

God calls each person to love God in all four of these ways. The world needs communication, compassion, consideration, and contribution from every follower of Jesus.

But the reality is that your personality causes you to tend more naturally toward either the heart, soul, mind, or strength. For the next few days, we’ll take a look at the strengths and pitfalls of each of these four areas.

Today we’re going to focus on the communicators the people who most naturally love Jesus with their hearts.

Heart people are talkers, and they have a hard time being quiet. When you’re a heart person, you’ve got to let it out. You’ve got to tell other people. Heart people love to tell stories. They love to sit and converse, especially in heart-to-heart conversations.

The world needs people who are communicators. We need people who can lead discussions and who can verbalize what the rest of us feel. We need teachers, counselors, and coaches who can teach us and direct us. We need comedians. We need preachers. We need all of these people who are built on verbal skills and who are able to move the world forward.

The Bible says, “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (Ephesians 4:29).

When talkers use the right words at the right time, they can restore, encourage, build up, and heal broken hearts. They can also use their abilities to guide, direct, and point us in the right direction. But God’s warning for talkers is this: You also have to act.

Proverbs 14:23 says, “Hard work is worthwhile, but empty talk will make you poor”.

This means you eventually have to act on what you’ve been talking about. Some people never get past the discussion stage.

What things have you been talking about doing? How long have you been talking about it?

Don’t just talk about it. Start doing it! And see how God uses your words and actions to make a difference in the world.

How to Make the Most of Your Abilities

When the master comes and finds the servant doing his work, the servant will be blessed.”Luke 12:43

All of us have unused abilities. Maybe you are still figuring out what your God-given abilities are. Or maybe you have abilities you’ve abandoned or ignored because of life circumstances.

But God gave you those abilities for a reason: He wants you to use them to serve him and others! There are three ways you can start engaging your abilities so that they are being used for good and for God’s glory.

1. Estimate your abilities.
Do an assessment of your abilities. What are you good at? Make a list. If there’s one thing I could say to young people today to prepare for their future, this is it: Know your strengths and weaknesses. Consider the capabilities God has given you. If you have trouble identifying your abilities, ask someone close to you for help!

2. Dedicate your abilities.
“Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him” (Romans 12:1). Tell God, “You gave me these abilities. Now I’m going to give them back to you. I want to use them for the purpose for which you gave them to me.”

3. Cultivate your abilities.
That means practice, improve, sharpen, and develop. Any ability God has given you can be improved with use. Ecclesiastes 10:10 says, “If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success”.

How do you get skill? You practice. You sharpen your ax and work smarter, not harder. Sharpening your abilities your aptitudes, your skills is a spiritual responsibility.

God has invested enormously in you. First, he created you. Second, he shaped you with spiritual gifts and a unique personality. Then, he sent Jesus to die for you.

God has made an incredible investment in your life! And he expects a return on the investment. He’s going to ask you one day, “What did you do with what you were given? How did you use your abilities to honor me, to serve others, to make a living, and to be an example?”

Jesus says, “When the master comes and finds the servant doing his work, the servant will be blessed” (Luke 12:43).

God wants to bless your life! When God looks at you, he wants to see you using your abilities in the ways he intended so that you will experience his blessing.

Why Do We Need Each Other

Each of you as a good manager must use the gift that God has given you to serve others.”1 Peter 4:10

Your abilities are for the benefit of other people. The Bible says in 1 Peter 4:10, “Each of you as a good manager must use the gift that God has given you to serve others”.

You need me, and I need you. Nobody is good at everything. Nobody has every talent. There are no perfect people who can say to the world, “I don’t need anybody else.”

We need each other. We were made to work in teams! That’s why you need a small group and a church family. We’re better together.

Here’s the key to success: Build on your strengths so that your weaknesses become irrelevant. Every successful person does this. Just work on what you’re good at, and make it better.

Here’s a second rule of success: Team up with people who are good at what you’re not good at. Team up with people who complement you. Everybody has something to contribute. Nobody has it all together. We need each other!

This, by the way, is one of the purposes of marriage. In marriage we’re put together to complement each other’s strengths and to compensate for each other’s weaknesses. What happens when we don’t compensate for each other’s weaknesses? We criticize each other. That’s not what marriage is for. Marriage puts two sinners together, so there can be no perfect relationships. But in a marriage, you know the other’s weaknesses, so you can help compensate for them.

For example, take bill paying and budgeting. Who should do it? The one who does it better! The Bible doesn’t tell us who should do one role over another. Just figure out who does it better, and in doing that, you compensate for each other’s weaknesses. That’s why my wife, Kay, always drives instead of me. She’s a much more careful driver than I am.

This also applies to your work. If you want your business to be effective, here’s the key: Staff by SHAPE. Help people discover their SHAPE their Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences and put them in the positions they’re good at. When you do that, you won’t have to micromanage them or motivate them. Why? Because they’ll be doing what they love to do, and they’ll be good at it.

God wants every person to use their abilities to help other people. We need each other!

How To Serve God Out Of Delight

“Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves.” Romans 12:3

Listen to your heart.

That sounds like pop culture fodder, but the Bible says that’s what God wants you to do. He wants you to look at what you’re made to do in order to know what he wants you to do. But most people these days are moving so fast that they don’t have time to listen to their heart anymore.

People all over the world are speeding along with no direction. They’re in such a hurry, stressed with too much to do and they won’t realize until it’s too late that they didn’t have to do so much.

This isn’t the plan God has for you. He wants you to slow down and listen to your heart. Romans 12:3 says, “Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves”.

I suggest you get alone with God and ask yourself these questions:

  • What do I love to do?
  • What do I dream of doing?
  • What fascinates me?
  • What can I talk about, think about, and study all day without getting bored?
  • Where have I been most effective in my life?

I wish everybody could learn that truth. That’s what SHAPE—your Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences—is all about. You serve God out of your design and the way he shaped you. You serve God not out of duty, force, or guilt but because you love him. Because when you do what he wired you to do, it brings glory to him.

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you’ve been given—in other words, of what God put you on earth to do. Then serve God out of delight and gratitude. That’s the way to live.

My Redeemer Lives

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth. Job 19:25

Many of us know that Job suffered greatly he lost his family first of all. I cannot imagine losing my family, my children. He also lost his health and even his wealth. By this time, I would want to just dig a hole and crawl in it never to show my face to light again. So, I understand his grief and heartache!

But Job in his heart knew one thing one thing that meant more than anything else. He declared, I know that my Redeemer lives! His declaration gives hope to the many, to the thousands out there who are suffering. Our Redeemer lives and is here for us always!

Life in itself is hard days are sometimes filled with disappointments and heartaches. And even though we may have moments of joy and refreshing, this world gives us little hope and answers. But God, in His great mercy has given us a Redeemer, Jesus Christ. And Jesus Himself, fills us with the power of the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us through those difficult days.

Yes, I know that my Redeemer lives! I know He loves and encourages us on. His Holy Spirit is there each step of the way. And He will reign on this earth once again and take control of this world so out of control!

So, I thank God for those men and women who have displayed hope and courage in the midst of suffering. And I thank and praise my Redeemer, for I know He will again reign and rule in this complex and sinful world!

Brokenhearted? The Lord Is Close

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”Psalm 34:18

We’ve all had our hearts broken in some way, maybe by disappointment, fear, shame, rejection, or ridicule. I say to you, as your friend, I’m sorry. I really am. I care about the hurt you have gone through, and God cares about it too. He hurts with you.

What was God doing when you were weeping? He was weeping too. In fact, it is in your pain that God is closest to you, whether or not you realize it.

The Bible says in Psalm 34:18, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”. I How does he do that? He saves you by giving you a heart transplant. It’s his specialty, in fact.

It’s as if God says, “For the heart that’s guilty, I’ll give you a heart that’s forgiven. For the heart that’s resentful, I’ll give you a heart that’s full of peace. For the heart that’s anxious, I’ll give you a heart that’s confident. For the heart that’s lonely, I’ll give you a heart full of love. The heart that has been bitter and angry? I’ll give you a heart that is forgiving, loving, and generous instead. Let me do a heart transplant in you. I will set you free.”

Why do you need freedom? Because, without Christ, you’re enslaved. You’re a slave to the expectations of other people. You’re a slave to past memories. You’re a slave to future fears. You’re a slave to current pressure. You’re a slave to the opinions of society, and on and on and on.

But all you have to do is open your heart to Jesus Christ and give him give him all of it. Like David in Psalm 119:32, you can say to God, “I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding”.

Your heart may have been broken, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Decide today to stop limiting God! He wants to do so much with your life more than you can even imagine. Open your heart to God, and let him transplant your heart for his own.

Let God Focus Your Passions

Look, I’m standing at the door and knocking. If anyone listens to my voice and opens the door, I’ll come in and we’ll eat together.”Revelation 3:20

God gave you a heart, and he has placed in you passions, desires, and dreams. But unless they are under his control, they will be misused and abused or lie dormant and wasted in your life.

All around the world, millions of passionate people are misusing and abusing their interests and ambitions. And it breaks God’s heart. That’s why, in spite of their talent and passion, those people are unhappy. When your passions are misused, it makes you miserable.

You might be thinking, “I’m not really passionate about anything right now.” You know what that means, don’t you? It means you are disconnected from God. You cannot be connected to God and dispassionate. When you are plugged in to God, it’s like plugging in to a power supply. You get passionate!

God is a passionate God. The only reason you have emotions is because you’re made in his image. God is emotional. God gets jealous when he sees you ignoring him for something else. God loves you with an everlasting love. And no matter what you do, he will always love you. That’s passion!

When you spend time with God on a daily basis and get plugged in to his passion, you can’t help but be passionate yourself. You start to develop God’s heart for the world. You start to feel the way he does. Who you hang out with really does make a difference. When you spend time with God, you become more like him.

Would you like to have more energy and enthusiasm? The word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek words en theos, meaning “in God.” When you get en theos, you’re going to be enthusiastic. The closer you get to God, the more energy, vitality, and passion you will have in life. The further away you get, the more bored and apathetic you become with life.

To get closer to God, you’ve got to open your heart to him.

“Look, I’m standing at the door and knocking. If anyone listens to my voice and opens the door, I’ll come in and we’ll eat together” (Revelation 3:20).

Jesus Christ has been standing and knocking at the door of your life for a long time. He wants to come in and help you use your passion in positive ways. But he’s a gentleman. He’s not going to bust the door down.

You’ve got to open it up.

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