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The Greatest Commandment
We Aspire to Love God
I’ve been thinking and praying a lot about the future of our church over the past few weeks. I’ve been going through some “aspirational statements” the Overseers wrote a few years ago after a prayer retreat. We believe God is calling us to become the kind of church described in those statements. Here’s one of them:
Our aim is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We aspire to be a people who know and love God completely. We desire to live surrendered to Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit. We want to experience God’s love firsthand, and, drawn by his love, devote ourselves fully to him.
The command to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength comes from multiple Gospels. My favorite place is Mark 12.
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions. (Mark 12:28-34, ESV)
Which is the most important commandment of all? To love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Jesus is not saying that human nature can be divided into four components: the heart, the soul, the mind, and the strength (our physical bodies?). No, he’s saying that we should be devoted to God with all our being.
If I’m following Jesus’s teaching here, then there is no part of myself or my life that is not dedicated to God. My career? Dedicated to God. My political views? Dedicated to God. My family? Dedicated to God. My hobbies? Dedicated to God. My values? Dedicated to God. My sex life? Dedicated to God. My desires? Dedicated to God. My thoughts? Dedicated to God. My phone? Dedicated to God.
You get the idea.
If I dedicate every aspect of my life to loving God, then my life will be filled with love. I won’t need to worry about whether or not I am keeping the letter of the law. In fact, I won’t need to worry about the law at all. If my entire being is dedicated to loving God, then I will end up fulfilling his laws and keeping his commands (no, not perfectly—we all still struggle with sin from time to time).
Heavenly Father, help me to love you more each day! Give me the grace to be fully devoted to you in every aspect of my life. Amen!