Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Soul (07/13/06)
TITLE: Breath of Love
By Mishael Witty
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“But how do we do that?” I asked my Sunday School teacher. “I know I'm supposed to do that, but how?”
I think my question stumped him.
“Well, it is very hard. I know I don't succeed all the time.”
And then he went on to something else.
That was four years ago, and all that time I continued to struggle with knowing how to love God with all my heart, soul, and mind. Since then, though, I've conducted a study of the original Greek words, and that has helped my understanding of the passage tremendously.
The first and the third ways we are supposed to love God according to this passage are with our heart (kardia - thoughts and feelings) and mind (dianoia - deep thought, imagination, understanding). This is how we humans normally think of love. We know we love someone when we start to feel loving feelings toward him/her, or we make a conscious choice to love someone who we may find unlovable at first. These concepts were not hard to grasp.
The second term, soul (psuche - breath, spirit), was the most difficult for me to wrap my mind around. How can we love God with our breath?
I remember watching my 16-year-old cat out on the back porch one afternoon. It was September 11, 2001. I just heard the news about the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, and I was experiencing my own sense of shock that something like this could happen. I looked out in the backyard to reassure myself that everything was still the same in my world.
My cat had his nose up in the air, breathing in the breeze. I couldn’t help but think that somehow he was breathing in God’s love for him. I know cats and dogs aren’t supposed to have souls the same that humans do, but I’m sure they do have something that connects them to their Creator. Two weeks later, my cat died, but that image still remains in my mind, of him breathing in God’s love for him.
Maybe that’s what it means to love God with all our souls. We show our love and appreciation for Him by daily breathing in His love for us.
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