Loving God – Fundamental and important command

This morning’s devotion and commentary comes from Our Daily Bread by Philip Yancey.

When asked by a lawyer to identify the most important rule in life, Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). In those words, Jesus summed up what God most desires from us.

We are not merely called to come unto Christ. We are not merely called to take up our cross on a daily basis. We are not even merely called to preach the Gospel and heal those who are broken and ill. None of this is possible, in fact, unless we understand one simple truth: Authentic Christian living involves us developing a romance with our Heavenly Father. We love God and seek to deepen that love for Him and with Him.

Love is the foundation of a healthy relationship. As we seek after and draw near to our Heavenly Father, we do so because we have a desire to love Him. Within this deepening love comes trust. How are we to love God?

I wonder how I can possibly learn to love God with all my heart, soul, and mind. Neal Plantinga remarks on a subtle change in this commandment as recorded in the New Testament. Deuteronomy charges us to love God with all our heart, soul, and strength (6:5). Jesus added the word mind. Plantinga explains, “You shall love God with everything you have and everything you are. Everything.”

We come to love our Heavenly Father in the same way that a child develops their love for their own earthly Father. Through the dependence and reliance on time spent together, receiving appropriate direction and counsel, being able to come and discuss our difficulties and challenges we face, knowing that our Heavenly Father is there. In today’s society, there are many who have not experienced a healthy love of a Father. Today is a day to turn to the one true Father of all and humbly come before him with all your brokenness and heartache and lay it all on the alter of prayer. Seeking God daily and drawing near to God brings about subtle and significant changes in our own perceptions, attitudes and beliefs. We grow in love with a Father that is for us and with us in all things and in all ways.

For many today, this may be quite difficult. Blogger JMJ Mitchell writes this in her blog Endless Strength:

There are similar passages in Mark and Luke where Jesus says that we must love God more than anything else…more than our family and friends.  This is a hard thing to comprehend because I think it’s a pretty normal thing for most of us to feel like we love our spouse more than we could love anyone or anything else. Or maybe we look at our children and we acknowledge a level of love that we cannot fathom being surpassed.  Yet, Jesus still commands us to love God the most.

She continues:

The homily centered on the fact that we are not to love God because HE has any NEED for our love.  That idea is preposterous because God, Himself, IS love.  There is nothing we can give to God.  But, our happiness (whether to be had on this earth, in this lifetime or in the next life) depends on our ability to love God the most.  If we love God more than we love our family, our friends, our things, our jobs, our activities…then we order our actions in such a way that we are happy.

Because we come to love our eternal Father in heaven, we order our lives in a manner where blessings are able to flow outwardly. In fact, the passage states that we are not only to Love God with everything, we are also commanded to love our neighbor as we love our own self. This is selfless love – giving of ourselves over to another person. It is through our deepening and strengthening love of God, that we strengthen and deepen our love for our families, for those within our churches, and those within our communities? Want to learn how to be compassionate person? Love God and learn how our Sovereign Father is compassionate.

How have we forgotten the true desire of our hearts to come to love God first and foremost in our lives? Living authentic Christian lives begins with obeying this simple command – to Love God with everything we have. how are you loving God today?

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