Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. “Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?”
He said, “What is written in God’s law? How do you interpret it?”
He said, "That you love the Lord your God with all you passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence - and your neighbour as yourself."
"Good answer!" said Jesus. "Do it and you'll live." Luke 10:25-27 (The Message)
An interesting way of answering a question - with a question. It makes the questioner think. In response to this religious leader's question, Jesus replied, "You tell me." Since he had probably been trained in the "Rabbi School", he came up with the correct answer, also something he had learned at his mother's knee - the Shema.
The Message translation puts an interesting slant on these words - "passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence..." How and why should one love God with passion? Although love is essentially an action word, it is not without passion. How can one love God without passion? The very word "God" invites passion because God is about passion. What is passion? Passion implies fervour, energy, heat, enthusiasm, drive, vigour. Without passion, love is bland and colourless.
How can we love God with prayer? Prayer is essentially a shift in awareness, from self to God. To love God with prayer moves Him from the periphery to the centre of my thoughts. Before the Fall, God occupied the centre of Adam's awareness, but his disobedience brought an immediate change, "I was afraid because I was naked." Part of the process of being transformed is to restore the awareness of God to the centre of my life by training myself to think "God" instead of me.
Muscle? How do I love God with muscle? Is this a reference to obedience, to responding with action to the communication I receive through my God-consciousness? Muscle conveys the thought of prompt and energetic obedience to God's will, as Abraham did when God told him to offer up Isaac.
This little cameo concludes with intelligence. How important this is in our interaction with God! We are not robots and He does not treat us as robots. That does not mean that we either question God or choose whether or not to obey, but it does mean that we function with understanding.
What Jesus is saying is that we are to love God totally, with our entire being and function, working with zeal and energy to grow our awareness of God and of the blessing and authority of being His sons and daughters. He is the centre of our lives and we live through Him and for Him.