We spend a lot of time as church leaders endeavoring to guide people into becoming more Christ like. From a preschool worker to the senior pastor, the goal of the church should be to help those who are not connected to God become a fully developed follower of Christ. A fully developed follower of Christ is someone that follows this description in in the greatest commandment,
“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”” (Mark 12:30-31 ESV)
Within this greatest commandment, we see two major categories of understanding and/or obtainable qualities. The first, simply put, is to love God and the second is to love man. To love God we must learn to love man, and likewise to love man more, we must develop an understanding the full nature of God.
A more comprehensive look at Mark 12:30 revels another set of attributes that must not be overlooked and holds the essential areas of focus for a fully devoted follower. Verse 30 says to Love God with your heart, mind, soul, and strength. This is almost an exact quote from Deuteronomy 6:5 except, “The Hebrew text does not mention “mind”; the Septuagint omits “heart”; but Jesus included both terms, stressing the comprehensive nature of the command.”1 These areas can be defined in four ares of competencies that a believer must be continually developing in order to become a fully devoted follower of Jesus
- With all your heart – missions and ministry
- With all your soul – spiritual disciplines
- With all your mind – theological training
- With all your strength – life skills
If church leaders will put opportunities in place for their members to cultivate and practice these core competencies, they will see Christians develop a profounder love for Christ and other people. In the follow entries, I will explore what these qualities look like and discuss strategies for guiding believers to develop these ares in their lives.