“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40, NIV)
What a moving passage of Scripture. This was Jesus’ response to a group of Pharisees when questioned about which commandment was the greatest. But this response was more than just an answer to a trivia question or the answer to timely problem. This answer is much, much more.
How often a day, in the midst of your schedules, obligations, commitments, personal interests, and relationships, do you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind? When you look back on your interactions with family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, people that drive you crazy, how frequently did you love your neighbor as yourself?
As you ponder those answers for yourself, let me share mine with you; “not very often” and again, “not very often”. I get wrapped up in those schedules, obligations, commitments, interests and I am afraid my love of God and others is not always very evident. It seems that a brief exchange or a curt interaction in my dealings with people, people that I love, happen too often.
To love God means that we need to put God first in our lives, even before our family. It means that every decision, every action, every thought needs to be steeped in the grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness that is God. When we do that, I think we might find many of our decisions, actions, and thoughts turn out a tad different.
The love of God is life changing and transforming. When the love of God is allowed to permeate the soul, it changes everything. It shifts focus, intention, language, and desires. But the great thing about the love of God is that it is not one sided. Just as we are called to love God with all that we are, God already loves us in the same way.
This week I encourage you to take time to seriously discern where God ranks in your life. Then, if you are not happy with the answer, take time to ask God how you can change it. God is always willing to grow closer to us, we just need to ask.
Have a great week and I will see you Sunday!