"How lovely is Your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." –Psalm 84:1-2
There is nothing like a baby saying their first words. We have coached them, communicated to them the best way we know how, and even begged them to speak a word…any word. “Say mama," we beg. “Dada," we urge. Even “night-night” would bring a tear to our eyes. But the day finally arrives, and they say it. “No!” they scream. While it wasn’t quite what we had in mind, we’ll take it. Having children and grandchildren repeat back to us what we have taught them is a gratifying experience. It’s like receiving an emotional dividend on what we have sown into them physically. If we as humans feel elated at the utterance of a coherent word, can you imagine the joy our heavenly father experiences when we give back to Him what He has given to us? Encounters like these are the ingredients of a deep lasting relationship.
Giving back to the Lord what He has given to us is how we love the Lord with our soul. In Mark 12:30, the evangelist Mark urges believers to love the Lord with various parts of their being, the heart, soul, mind, and strength. However, it is the soul that seems to be the most misunderstood element.
The word soul in this passage is the vital breath of life. It is the aftermath of God’s breathing into His unique creation called humans. This soul is life, the seat of our affections, and the root of our identity. Loving the Lord with our soul would be equivalent to repeating back to God what He has given to us, all of us.
But how do we give us back to God? It’s as simple as the words of the baby. “Dada” is our reply to our creator God.
Our first heroes and heroines are our parents, even before we see them. They are the ones that have been tracking our journey from mom’s nausea to dad’s night feedings. Isn’t that what the Lord was saying to Jeremiah when He said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,” (Jeremiah 1:5)? Since our Father God has been there since our beginning, it only seems right that we owe Him our breath.
Our breath of praise, worship, and adoration would be a great example of how we can love the Lord with our soul. Lifting the Lord with words of praise that originate from the seat of our affections and communicating our personal testimony in appreciation of “Dada.” Paul says it this way; “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when He adopted you as His own children. Now we call Him, ‘Abba, Father.’”
Since it is with our soul that we know Him, let us use our soul to show Him our appreciation for Him. Love the Lord with your soul.