What Does It Mean to Love God with All Your Heart?


Recently, a blog reader asked us, “What does it mean to love God with all your heart?” Since this is an excellent and important question, one that many of us may have asked ourselves, we’ll respond here with a full post.

Mark 12:30 says,

And you shall love the Lord your God from your whole heart and from your whole soul and from your whole mind and from your whole strength.

Briefly speaking, this verse means that God wants us to love Him with our whole being.

So what is our whole being?

In a previous blog post, What Is the Difference between the Soul and the Spirit?, we pointed out that 1 Thessalonians 5:23 shows us all three parts of our being, saying, “And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Our spirit is the innermost part of our being, the part we use to receive God and contact Him. When we received the Lord Jesus as our Savior, this is where He came to live in us. In our spirit we can have fellowship with the Lord and spend time in His presence.

Our soul is made up of our mind, our emotion, and our will. It is our person, our psychological part.

Our body, of course, is our physical part, with which we contact physical things through our fives senses and express our inward parts.

The Lord Jesus said that we are to love God with these three parts, that is, with our whole being. This is a strong yet mysterious commandment. First Peter 1:8 says, “Whom having not seen, you love; into whom though not seeing Him at present, yet believing, you exult with joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.” How can we love someone we haven’t even seen? And how do we love God with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind, and our whole strength? Do we even have this ability?

Let’s take a look at how we love God wholly and absolutely with each of the parts of our being.

It all begins with our heart

We may think of our heart simply as the seat of our emotions. But in the Bible our heart is more than that; it’s composed of our emotions, yes, but also of our mind, our will, and our conscience. Our heart is the source of our feelings, thoughts, intentions, and our sense of condemnation or guilt when we’ve done something wrong.

God created us with a heart so that we would love Him wholly and absolutely. Today, however, our hearts love many things besides God. We would find it difficult to pray with the psalmist, “Whom do I have in heaven but You? And besides You there is nothing I desire on earth” (Psa. 73:25). We must admit that though we may love God to some extent, He is not our only, nor our first love sometimes. The things of the world tug at our heart. So how can we obey the Lord’s command to “love the Lord your God from your whole heart”?

First John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us.” The note on this verse in the New Testament Recovery Version says, “God first loved us in that He infused us with His love and generated within us the love with which we love Him and the brothers (vv. 20-21).”

God commanded us to love Him absolutely, but He never intended us to work up this love for Him out of our own effort. In fact, He is well aware that we, in ourselves, aren’t even capable of such love. We need to realize that when God makes a demand, His intention is that He Himself would come to meet that demand for us. Our love for God actually originates from God Himself. It comes from His love within us, which is higher than anything we can generate.

God is love, and He became a man named Jesus Christ. When we receive the Lord Jesus, we receive all that He is into our spirit. The good news for us Christians is that we can turn our hearts to Him where He is in our spirit. Second Corinthians 3:16 says, “Whenever their heart turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” Then verse 18 says, “But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.” These verses liken human beings to mirrors that reflect what they behold. When our heart is turned away from the Lord by things such as sins, preoccupations, and love for worldly things, our heart is covered by a veil, and we can’t see or reflect the Lord. But when we turn our heart to the Lord within us, the veil is removed, and we can see the glorious Christ. We see His beauty, His virtues, and how wonderful He is, and He imparts what He is, including love, into us. Our love for Him grows.

We can turn our hearts to the Lord Jesus by praying to Him, calling on His name, confessing to Him and applying His precious blood, and spending time in His Word. These simple practices can remove the veils from our heart, restore our fellowship with the Lord, and rekindle our love for Him. We don’t have to remain in coldness or indifference toward God. We can turn our heart to Him at any time. He will revive us and bring us back to Himself as our first love.

Our soul

Our soul—our mind, emotion, and will—is a large part of our heart. God created our soul so we could express Him, but because of the fall, we tend to express ourselves. We have our own opinions, our own feelings, and our own decisions apart from God.

But when we turn our hearts to the Lord, our love for Him grows. We love Him with our heart, and, specifically, we begin to love Him with our soul. His thoughts become our thoughts, His feelings become our feelings, and His decisions become our decisions. As He does His transforming work in us, we spontaneously express God and glorify Him. Others see Christ expressed in us by our loving Him with our whole soul.

Our mind

Our mind is the leading part of our soul, directing the rest of our being. It can be set on many things, but God wants it to be set on the spirit, where Christ is. Romans 8:6 says, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.” When we set our mind on the flesh or fleshly things, we feel lifeless and uneasy because we’re turned away from Christ in our spirit. But when we set our mind on our spirit, we’re peaceful and full of life. By setting our mind on our spirit, our whole being is focused on God.

One way to set our mind on the spirit is to read the Bible with an open heart. As we read, our mind is enlightened and renewed, and we are washed by the water in the Word. Reading God’s Word daily greatly benefits our mind and our entire soul.

Our strength

Our strength refers to our physical strength. When we turn our heart to the Lord, express Him in our soul, and set our mind on Him, our body will follow. We formerly used our strength to serve ourselves or the world, but as love for the Lord pervades all our inward parts, our outward actions will begin to change. Things that used to occupy our time and energy will give way because what we love has changed. We have a new aim, a new goal, a new pursuit. Our physical strength is now for His purpose.

Start today

To love God with our whole being is an exercise. We don’t always wake up in the morning with a loving heart toward the Lord. But we can start the day by turning our hearts to our dear Lord Jesus. We can say, “Lord Jesus, I turn my heart to You this morning. I love You!” We can practice telling the Lord we love Him every single day. We can also pray, “Lord Jesus, cause me to love You more today than I did yesterday.” As we pray back to our Lord His own desire for us to love Him absolutely, He will have the way to work Himself into us so that we love Him with our whole being!

We love hearing from you, so please share your thoughts and experiences related to the post (blog commenting guidelines).

21 thoughts on “What Does It Mean to Love God with All Your Heart?

  1. I truly understand the concept of heart,mind,soul,strength, and truly admire the well written meanings you have shared with so many. I would hope that more and more peoples turn towards truth and belief for the bettering of our nation as a whole. Again I thank You.

  2. When all else is tried and attempted to satisfy our being and nothing seems to meet the deep need in us it is because we were not made to be satisfied with all of the other things. Our whole being means all three parts! This is key to our whole human life! If I am not loving God with my whole being something else will have already taken His place! I know I am not my own and the Lord bought me with a price, and I do love the Lord but not wholly and this is my longing that nothing will come in to take His place in my being! Lord Jesus make more home in my whole being! Cause me to love You more and more each day!!

  3. Writing about the fine details of a verse like this is surely difficult. Thank you for such detail and clarity.

    This all too familiar verse shows how complex the Bible is. Yet it is so easy to brush this aside for a vague, general understanding of verses familiar us.

    Thank you for addressing these fine points of Biblical truth.

  4. Excellent communication / interpretation of what is meant by God’s word to “love Him with our whole heart, soul, spirit and strength”. Thank you.

  5. I am so glad that i found this site, i am learning alot about my LORD and SAVIOUR! I RECEIVE my books Basic Elements of the Christian Life. And it truly have bless me. Thank you all for the free resources. BLESSING! God Bless US ALL!

  6. Praise the Lord! Now I long to read the word of God at all possible times and this has been made possible by the clarity, insight and understanding experienced when I read your books and blog. Thank you so much. God bless us all.

  7. Thank you for sharing the truth, the truths in this special portion of the Word – loving the Lord with your whole heart. I too, pray, “Lord Jesus, cause me to love You more today than I did yesterday. I love You, Lord! Keep me from loving other things! Keep me calling on Your name throughout the day.”

  8. I enjoy the simple prayer of asking the Lord to cause us to love Him more today than yesterday because without His love poured out in our hearts through His spirit (Rom. 5:8) I do not have the ability to love Him. He is answering such a prayer.

  9. Amen Amen Amen thank you for loving me first and thank you for showing me love all rides each morning I want to ask if you teach me to love more in Jesus name

  10. God Is Good All The Time “!!!! The Power Is In The Blood And Tongue “!! I Ask The Lord To Renew In Me A New Spirit ” A Spirit Of Love ‘ To Love And To Become Closer To Him “!! And To Renew My Relationship With Him “!! For It Is Him That Establishes Me ” And My Ways “!! For I Have Complete Faith And Understanding ” For The Holy-Spirit Guides Me “!! I Abide In Him ” He Abides In Me “!!For I Am His “!! Always “!! Amen ” Shalom “

  11. My name is Marty And i’ve been through a 12 step program and it’s been 30 years I’ve been reborn again the spirit and water I try to no longer Sin just to love , I found God and the Holy Spirit through the 12 steps and working them , now I do the will of God and help myself so I can help others , God is number one in my life now and I would die for him , I tell people this is God’s classroom on earth and you do everything with love that is God , that works for me. ❤️

  12. Praise God! Thank you Lord Jesus for loving me first! I love you so much and will try my best for you everyday! Amen!

  13. Thanks for sharing this post. It has given me insight and revelation on how to love God the way He requires. I really needed direction in this area and when I googled the question, God sent me here. Thanks for your obedience to post, may God continue to bless you.


  14. “We need to realize that when God makes a demand, His intention is that He Himself would come to meet that demand for us. ” Wow, what a salvation! I believe there are some believers who still have the concept that loving God is a demand that we must fulfill in order to not get into trouble. But, the truth is God is love and only He can love from within us to meet the demand. So, just be open to the Lord, and be filled with Him first. He loved us first…

  15. Amen! Lord, I thank you for this word! Here some verses that I meditate on often! God bless!

    Psalm 18:1-2 (KJV)
    1) I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.
    2) The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

  16. Truly today I gain a better and right understanding into what it means for me to ‘love God with my whole heart, and with my whole soul, and with my whole mind and with my whole strength. I now know how to apply these distinct elements in having to be genuine in loving God. Another aspect of my understanding that got opened is when you explain what it means to turn my heart to God and the Veil issue. I am really blessed. I have to keep reading this piece again and again until it should become a part of me. I thank God that His Holy Spirit asked me this Question through me and here that right answer He has given to me using you and Ministry. Thanks and may God bless you more, in JESUS Christ name. Amen. – Pastor Ukpe Christopher.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *