Scott Pontier

Deuteronomy 6:4-9: Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

In the second phrase of this section of text, we are told to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your me’odecha (pronounced “may-o-day-ha”). Literally, the phrase means “with all your ‘very’ or ‘muchness’,” which sounds very odd to our ears. The definition in the biblical glossary is “exceedingly, much, force or abundance,” and traditionally it has been translated as “Love the Lord your God with all… your ‘strength’” or “might.”

But what is “all your me’odechah?” A few years ago I had signed up for a trip to the middle east to tour the land the Bible was written in and a teacher had prompted us to get in shape for the rigorous journey of hiking and climbing by saying “if your body is flabby, your faith tends to be flabby.” A bit frightened of spending time in a land where everything seems to be uphill, I took the prompting to heart. I learned much in my preparation time; but the main thing I learned was the meaning of the word me’odecha.

If you have ever undertaken a fitness regimen like Body for Life or something similar, you know the challenge of lifting that weight for just one more repetition or adding just one more pound to your weight-lifting routine. The result can bring tears to your eyes. This kind of straining with all of your being is to experience what the word me’odecha means. Some people describe it simply as “oomph.” But it means so much more – to have all of your body, soul and heart single-minded in its pursuit of one thing with all the intensity and energy you can muster – this is the call of Jesus on our lives. Are you up to it?

We often tend to disconnect the pieces of our life: Social, physical exercise, spiritual, financial mental learning, emotional, etc. It can be hard to learn how to love God with all of ourselves if we live in this schizophrenic understanding of ourselves. What would happen if you began to put those pieces together, one by one, and pursued God, truly with everything that you are and have – down to every penny in your wallet and minute in your day?

What areas of your life are “out of shape”? What areas are atrophied and not fully giving everything they could to the pursuit of God and His power in your life?
Are you seeking God’s power in your life in only some areas but not others?
What needs to be a part of your “fitness plan” to strengthen your pursuit of God?

Scott Pontier is the Student Ministries Pastor at Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Grove City