“The Greatest Commandment”
Text; Matthew 22:34-40
37Jesus replied: “?‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38This is the first and greatest commandment.39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Jesus’ quick reply summarized the entire ten commandments in two laws. If we look at the Ten Commandments, we see that the first four are focused on our relationship with God and the next six are relating to our fellow man. Jesus took a step back from the letter of the law and surveyed the intent of the law. Love for God and Love for others is the intent of the law of God.
But then Jesus goes on to make a statement that must have stunned them into silence, we read in verse 40; “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
These two commandments are the sum of the entire Old Testament that the Pharisee’s had devoted their lives to studying.
Jesus has a way of making the profound sound simple. All the Laws that the Lord God had given to Moses and all that the prophets had written could be summed up in the law of Love.
There has been much debate and discussion over the differentiation between heart and soul and mind; simply put, our heart is the source of our passion and drive, our soul is the eternal part of our being, that part of us that connects with the Holy Spirit in prayer, and our mind is our reasoning and intelligence. Jesus was not saying that we need to develop three different types of love and work at bringing them all into agreement. No, he was saying that we need to love God with every single aspect of our being. In our passions, our reasoning, and our prayers. Total commitment and obedience to God.
But the reality is that this is impossible for us to do. How do we Love God with all our heart and soul and mind? It is impossible. In the natural state of man, it is impossible no human being with a fallen and sinful human nature can possibly love God with all his heart, soul and mind, and that is precisely the point that Jesus was making to the Pharisees. Jesus was trying to get them to see that they were spiritually bankrupt and that they needed a savior. This applies to us today, we are sinful and have no hope without the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus, and without the presence of the Holy Spirit within us giving us the ability, we would never be able to Love God completely.
But if you know Jesus as your personal savior, you have the Holy Spirit within you and you have the ability to love God the way you should.
There are three things that we need to understand in this regard;
First and most importantly we need to realize that we are not the originator of love, God is. The apostle John writes in 1 John 4:7-8; “7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” – God is Love! He is the originator of love, we cannot generate love within us without it first coming from God himself.
Secondly we need to understand that God is personal, he is not a being who is way off in the distance and who is not approachable. God wants to have a relationship with us. God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden to have fellowship with them, but man chose to walk away from God. God wants that relationship to be restored, so much so that he sent his son to the world to provide a way for us to be restored to a right standing with him. The uncreated creator of the Universe wants to reveal himself to you in a personal relationship.
And thirdly our love for God grows as time goes by. If you have been married for a number of years, you know that love grows deeper as you grow together and navigate the trials and joys of life together.
- As we walk with God in our daily lives we become aware of his hand protecting us, we love him more.
- As we step out in faith, and we see him providing for us as we stretch our faith, we love him more.
- As we feel the comforting arms of our heavenly father, when we encounter the pain of life, we love him more.
God’s protection, provision, and comfort draw us to love him more.
We cannot Love someone we do not know, and we cannot know someone unless we spend time with them. If you are serious in obeying the Lords commands, it starts with spending time with him, studying the Word of God and spending time in prayer. Those who are consumed with the love of God are hungry for his Word, they spend much time in prayer and they are eager to tell others about their personal relationship with Jesus. It is as we live out these spiritual disciplines that our love for God grows and matures to the Glory of God.
Will you commit this year to Loving God with all your heart, soul and mind? Ensuring that there is nothing in your life that hinders your walk with God. Anything that is taking the place of God in your life. If there is anything in your life that draws your attention away from God, and his place of preeminence, it is an idol.
Making money, building a business, exercise in excess, watching too much TV, and food, are examples of things that can become idols in our lives.
The truth is that if we are faced with the choice between spending time with God, in worship and prayer, sharing the Gospel or serving Him, if we are faced with the choice to do what God asks us to do, or to relax on the couch with a remote control, or anything I have previously mentioned, that thing becomes an idol in your life.
As you look forward into the New Year, make some new year’s resolutions and ensure that they have the goal of drawing you closer to God and loving our Heavenly Father. Let us ask the Lord to reveal the idols in our lives, we all have them, it doesn’t take much for us to realize how we make choices in our lives reveals our idols.
Let us pray and ask the Lord for wisdom and strength to put him first.