Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Greatest Commandment - no problem?

When asked “what is the most important commandment”, Jesus responds with (1) loving God and (2) loving people. Awesome, I can do that. That’s not a problem – right?

Let’s look at what Jesus is really saying here. Here is how it reads in Mark 12:29-31:
"The most important one is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 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: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
Notice that Jesus begins his answer by quoting the text found in Deuteronomy 6 about loving God. He then added the second most important commandment of loving others and tied it to his answer identifying it as an essential component of truly loving God.

What does Jesus really mean when he uses the word “all”? Why does he say all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength? Jesus is laying out what God really requires of us - total devotion. He wants every part of our lives to be completely his. Not just our minds; not just our bodies; not just our hearts; but all of us. He expects to have our whole being.

Does he have our whole mind when we are filling it with worthless knowledge, facts, or worldly filth? Does he have our whole heart when we still have concern for ourselves; when our own comfort, reputation, happiness, and pleasure are still of importance to us? Does he have our whole soul when we are filling it with lust, anger, and jealousy?

Does this statement by Jesus nullify the rest of the commandments? Does it mean that committing the other sins like adultery, gossip, and materialism aren’t as big of a deal? Absolutely not. In Matthew Jesus clarifies that “all of the law and the prophets hang on these two commands”. What does that mean? Well, it means that if you love God and people you will not commit sins against either. When you gossip you are not showing love to people. When you lust and commit adultery you are not showing love to people or to God. When you have a fit of rage, you are not showing love to people. The list definitely goes on and on. Finally, when you commit any sin you are not showing love to God because Jesus himself said “if you love me you will obey what I have commanded”.

So, love is obviously more than a feeling, a desire, a state of mind, or an intention. Love is how we live, our actions, how we treat others, and how we love honor, obey, and respect God.

Lord, may my love be real love that is lived out daily. What I think matters, what I say matters, and what I do matters. Continue to transform me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another great post! You can really make me think.