When it comes to discussing worship one verse that is used often is John 4:23
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. John 4:23 (NIV)
True worship comes from our entire being. Everything we are gets involved in it. When we truly love someone we want to please that person in every way can. Loving and worshipping God requires these four areas of our lives; Heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Then one of the scribes came up and listened to them disputing with one another, and, noticing that Jesus answered them fitly and admirably, he asked Him, Which commandment is first and most important of all (in its nature)?
29Jesus answered, The first and principal one of all commands is: Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord;
30And you shall love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind (with your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength. This is the first and principal commandment. Mark 12:28-30 (AMP)
In the bible the word heart primarily points to the human will- that amazing and terrifying power of choice with which God has designed us. We can see this in verses such as Psalm 119:2 "Happy are those who keep His decrees who seek Him with their whole heart." Paul demonstrates this understanding of the word when he admonishes Christian slaves to do "the will of God from the heart" Ephesians 6:6. The biblical authors envision the heart as primarily as the place where human intention resides.
Although we usually think of the heart in terms of our feeling, in present-day evangelistic settings , we often invite people to "accept Jesus with your heart." By this, we are describing not an emotion but a concrete response of the will. Sometimes in the Bible, the word heart is simply meant to point to the deepest part of the human experience or consciousness. But especially when combined with words such as soul and mind, it is clear that Jesus used the heart in this context to describe our ability to decide and choose.
Most people in society today, including many believers, use the term soul to describe a nonmaterial reality that comprises the immortal identity of individuals and survives physical death. This is essentially a Greek anthropology and is found nowhere in the Bible. The biblical writers use the term soul in various ways but primarily to describe the emotional aspect of human nature. We see this in passages such as Psalm35:9 "Then my soul shall rejoice in the Lord, exulting in His deliverance." and in Psalm 42:11, "Why are you cast down, oh my soul and why are you disquieted within me?" We see the same idea reflected in our modern use of the term psychological, which is based upon the Greek word for the soul, psuche.
Sometimes the word soul in the bible points to the deeper aspects of human existence. Sometimes it is paired with heart in a parallel structure rather than in contrast. However, when Jesus used the term soul along with mind, body, and heart, He was pointing to the vast range of our emotional experiences.
In modern culture we tend to think of the mind as a computer- an organ that stores, processes, retrieves information. However, the biblical writers use the term mind to describe not just our ability to process information but also a consciousness that enables us to derive meaning and wisdom from that information. This biblical view of the mind emphasizes "knowing" which is both fact based and rational.
The naive modern assumption that brainpower could somehow solve the deepest problems of human existence has been discredited by the atrocities of the past century. In post modern culture of the twenty-first century there is a tendency to see the mind as a network that connects and interprets the various aspects of human experience and leads us towards deeper meaning. This is very similar to the biblical writers’ use of the term mind. When Solomon asks for wisdom, God responds, "I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you" 1 Kings 3:12. Paul describes Christian unity as being "of one mind" Philippians 2:2 and Christian maturity as gaining "the mind of Christ" 1 Corinthians 2:16. When Jesus calls us to love God with or "mind," He is talking about a cognitive function that leads to us to a spiritual meaning.
In scripture, sometimes strength refers to personal determination, other times to moral conviction, but it is most often connected to the physical aspect of human existence. Proverbs 20:29 uses the word describe the aging process of the body; "The glory of youths is their strength, but the beauty of the aged is their gray hair." Sometimes lack of physical strength is described; "My strength fails because of misery, and my bones waste away." Psalm 31:10 Even when physical strength is used as a spiritual metaphor, physical images are used ; "But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31
When Jesus calls us to love God with all we are, He not only includes our will, our emotions, and our intellect, but He also puts all these aspects of our humanity in the context of our physical bodies. To love God with all your strength means to allow your body to give expression to the thoughts, feelings, and decisions that reflect the response to the whole person of God.
Biblical Term Human Trait Response In Worship
Heart Volitional What we choose
Soul Emotional What we feel
Mind Intellectual What we think
Stength Physical What we do
Portions taken from the book Experiential Worship by Bob Rognlien
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