Matthew 22/Mark 12
There’s a song on K-Love (Christian radio station) called “Love God and Love People” by Danny Gokey. The chorus goes “Gotta keep it real simple, keep it real simple bring everything back down to ground zero, cause it all comes down to this love God and love people”. The song is very catchy, yet while this command is simple at the same time it takes an entire lifetime to grow and mature in living out the greatest command God has given to his people.
The greatest commandment is found in today’s passage and it comes from the lips of the greatest teacher who ever walked the earth, our Lord Jesus Christ. I could say much on this topic yet I will keep it brief and to the point. The two commandments Jesus states as the first and second most important come from the Old Testament. The first and greatest commandment, love God, comes from Deuteronomy 6.4-5. The second commandment, love people, comes from Leviticus 19.18. These two texts Jesus sees as the greatest commandments because the whole law of God can be summed up in these two commands. Also, Jesus not only tells us the two most important commandments but he gives us the divine priority of Christian love. God comes first and only then people. As Christians we do not love people first and then God. We love God first in priority then our neighbor. A blessed Christian life is one that seeks to love God before all else.
For the rest of this devotion, I want to focus on the first and greatest commandment. What does it mean to love God? To love God means to love him with our entire person or being. There are three aspects of our person that we are to love God with in Deuteronomy 6.4-5. These three are; the mind, the soul, and our might.
To love God with our mind means primarily that we engage with the truth God has revealed about himself in scripture. In short, we love God when we read, study, and meditate upon the Bible. To love God with our soul means to love him with our emotions, affections, and desires. If we say we know God yet are unmoved by him, we don’t know him. It is impossible to love God and remain cold and indifferent. Our emotions do not form the foundation of our relationship with God but they do accentuate and enhance our experience of God. Lastly, to love God with our might is to love him with our physical body and ability and the resources he has given us. To love God with our body can mean using it for serving other people.
To love God means to love him first in priority and to love him with every area of our life and being.
Tomorrow we will read Matthew 23 and Luke 20-21.