Boaz and Ruth had an interesting courtship, especially by today’s standards. The rich and prosperous Boaz had little in common with the poor foreign widow Ruth, except that he was her “family redeemer” who fulfilled the Jewish marriage and estate laws. You can read their interesting story in the book of Ruth.
Their real link was that both of them lived a life of love. Ruth showed loyal and sacrificial love to her mother-in-law Naomi, and Boaz was consistently kind and gentle to all. It’s no wonder that God brought them together to continue His chosen line of descent for the Redeemer.
Love God with all your soul.
Jesus commanded us to love God with all our soul (see Mark 12:30). What does that mean?
The word translated soul is the root of our word psyche. In the New Testament it is sometimes translated life or spirit, even though there were other words frequently used for those. The three are closely related.
Your soul is your life. It’s where your spirit resides. We don’t know exactly where the soul is located, but we know that it is life’s essence. The psalmist wrote, “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name” (Psalm 103:1 NIV). The soul is the innermost part of your being—your life.
In Matthew 10:28 and 16:26, Jesus echoed the same thought: Your soul is your very life.
To love with all your soul, then, means to love with the essence of your life. Anyone observing your life will see love. Love will be the life you live.
Live with an attitude of love.
One thing that means is to carry an attitude of love. When you have a loving attitude, you are predisposed to respond to God and to other people with love. Paul wrote about that kind of attitude:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV)
Taken together, these qualities are a pretty comprehensive description of a loving attitude. Check your own attitude by thinking over your personal interactions in the past 24 hours:
- Have you been patient with your family, friends, and others?
- Have you acted kindly?
- How much have envy, boasting, or pride been part of your day?
- Did you act rudely toward anyone?
- Did you seek your own selfish desires over the needs of others?
- How angry have you been?
- Are you harboring resentment toward someone for the wrongs they’ve done?
- Did you tell the truth in love at every opportunity?
You can see that your attitude determines your actions. So live with an attitude of love. Look for ways to love. Seek constantly to demonstrate love. As Paul said in Ephesians 5:1-2, imitate Jesus by walking in love.
If like many Christians you have an attitude problem, your best approach is to ask God to transform your attitude (see Romans 12:1-2). The Holy Spirit can change your attitude to one of love, if you let Him.
How to love God with all your soul.
Loving God with all your soul means living a life of love for God. Here are some things you’ll do:
- Live in obedience to the commands of Jesus (see John 14:15).
- Live in oneness with God (see John 14:20).
- Live in the direction of the Holy Spirit (see John 14:26).
By living in love with God, you will honor Him, be available for His kingdom work, and do His will.
The key to living a life of love.
Knowing God—having a personal relationship with Him—enables you to live a life of love. Without that relationship, you aren’t connected to the source of love, so you can’t really love God’s way. The more intimate that relationship, the stronger the love in your life.
If you are a Christian, God lives in you, so He loves through you. You live in love because God lives in you. He enables you to love Him, to love your neighbor, and to love your enemy.
A prayer for love.
Father, my soul is the life I live. I want to live a life today in love with You. I want to love You with all my soul. In obedience to Your commands. At the Holy Spirit’s direction. Walking with You every step of the way. Help me to walk like Jesus walked—in love.
How closely are you walking in love with Christ?