Drawing a primitive heart on my journal page, my thoughts linger on the love lessons now imprinted on my own heart. Joyfully living a life of intentional love transforms the way I view God, others, even myself. Grab a hot cup of tea or coffee, a treat, and cozy up in your favorite spot for a little mindfulness break, and glance back with me on February’s love lessons.
Welcome to Mindfulness Monday! Where we learn some easy ways to be more present “in the moment” at our jobs, in our homes, with our families and friends.
Learning to recognize God and what He has for us in each divine moment He offers. We acknowledge the belief that God is with us always.
We confess His presence is available to us, lifting our spirit and helping us with power and grace. Learning the art of “stillness” so we can hear His voice and view ourselves, others and our surroundings through His eyes.
While lessons abound on loving well, I benefited from a focus on adding intentionality to the way I love God and others. My desire for redeeming the month of February by focusing on loving God and loving others well, initially stalled.
Seeking God’s direction resulted in a persistent return to the word “intentional”. At first unsure of the relevance of the added word; the chasm between living a life of love and joyfully living a life of intentional love became clear.
The layering of intention upon my actions of love for God and others challenges selfish and obligatory motives, and instead infuses Joy into my endeavors.
By its definition, “intentional” involves a cognizant choice, purposeful action and plan. Agreed, the nuance appears hair-splitting. But consider, every day you eat: more often than not, if you maintain a busy schedule, you eat haphazardly, on the run, in the easiest way possible.
When you have more time, however, or for a special occasion, you intentionally eat. You plan a special menu, take care in preparation, set a lovely table, and savor your food. Both scenarios fill your stomach, but which one also serves up Joy?
joyfully living a life of intentionally loving god
My first stop on my journey into Love, embraced the first and greatest commandment in Matthew 22:34-37 When confronted with the question, “which is the greatest commandment?” Jesus quoted the Shema from Deuteronomy 6:4-5:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
A joyful Intentional Love from the Heart
What does joyfully living a life of intentinally loving God look like?
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.Psalm 37:4
As you seek delight in the Lord, He then gives you the heart desires illustrating your love for Him. Rather than granting your desires, He places His desires in your heart. Find a special mindfulness exercise and full explanation of the following points HERE.
- Love God with an undivided heart.
- Love God with your emotions.
- Love God with a contented heart.
a joyful intentional love from the soul
A person’s soul comprises the eternal portion of his being; the part of him or her which lives on after death. At salvation, the soul receives new life through the Spirit of God becoming alive to God and dead to sin. (Romans 6:5-11)
The Old Testament further describes the soul as the breath of God, or the gift of physical life. (Genesis 2:7) From this perspective, how do you love God with all of your soul?
- Love God with a surrendered life.
- Love God with a view to eternity.
A joyful intentional love from the mind
Home of thoughts, knowledge, intellect, and perspectives, makes it a prime target for lies, fantasies, deceptions and prejudices. Which explains Paul’s exhortation in Romans 12:2 for the renewal of our minds.
Taking Christ’s directive to love God with all of your mind seriously, where do you begin?
- Love God with your thoughts.
- Love God with your knowledge and intellect.
- Love God with your world view.
a joyful intentional love with your strength
Strength, the final aspect of an intentional love for God encompassing the heart, soul, mind and strength, plays out in our actions. The previous three; heart, soul and mind become evident in our words and actions.
- Love God with your words
- Love God with your actions.
- Love God with your abilities.
Joyfully living a life of intentionally loving others
Plumbing the depths of intentionally loving God with heart, soul, mind and strength, leads us to Jesus adding the second great commandment, “And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39)
Fiinding a similar exchange in Luke 10:25-37, when a certain lawyer asked Jesus for the way to eternal life. After pointing the man to the law, Jesus reinforced his words from Matthew 22. Dissatisfied, the man flippantly asks Jesus “who is my neighbor?”
Obedience, then to the second great commandment pivots on the intentional pursuit of the first great commandment. For from a love for God encompassing heart, soul, mind, and strength, emerges a love for others reflecting his benevolent, faithful love.
We learn much about how to authentically love others from the parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus not only showed us who our true neighbor is, but how to love them.
a joyful intention love for others
Just as the Jewish lawyer faced his own prejudice in this parable, we face our own daily, as God presents us with opportunities for loving others. Find a special mindfulness exercise and full explanation of the following points HERE.
- Love takes the initiative.
- Love offers compassion.
- Love pays the price.
- Love suffers inconvenience.
- Love stems from mercy.
joyfully living a life of intentional love
Ultimately, my focus on intentionally loving God and others, revealed instances where my motives tended more towards loving out of obligation, or to gain approval. Surfacing also a tendency of loving that I might also receive love.
Adding purpose-filled intentionality to my love for God and others, opened the door for layering in Joy. As I more deliberately sought expressing love in unforced, meaningful ways, my focus shifted more towards the object of my love, rather than on the outcome of my efforts.
Intentionality allowed me to embrace the freedom of loving God and others with the entirety of my being resulting in overflowing Joy.
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