What is the most important thing you will do today? What was your biggest accomplishment this past week? Did you mow the lawn? Did you finally finish that house project? Maybe you began a new job or entered a new relationship. However, if you failed to keep what Jesus called the “great and first commandment” then your focus needs re-centred.
Jesus says in Mark 12:30, “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.” This is the most important command in the whole bible. Everyone must obey this command. All people must make this duty their highest priority.
To love God with all our mind means that we study the bible to know precisely who God is. The bible reveals to us through history, poetry and prophecy that our God is infinite, eternal and unchangeable. He is holy, just, merciful, all-powerful, all-wise and always good. Our thought life must then change to think about this awesome God rather than ourselves. In addition, love to God involves our affections and deepest desires. What gives you the most excitement? The most pleasure? Is it watching a footy game? Having a drink with your mates after work? Perhaps it’s online shopping. However, “all” your heart must be God’s. What pleases the Lord and delights the Lord must be your highest joy not your own emotional excitement.
Now, this sounds a bit strict. Does God really demand “all” of me?! My thought life should be my own. I should be allowed to make my own happiness my greatest pursuit. Isn’t it enough that I go to church most Sunday mornings? Well, I can give you two brief answers. First, this kind of life is exactly the life lived by Jesus Christ. If you want to be like Christ, then this is the path you must walk and no other. Speaking about God the Father, Jesus says in John 8:29, “I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” Do you love Christ? Do you want to imitate him? Do you claim to be his disciple? Then you must follow your Master.
But there is a second answer. It involves spiritual chemistry. In chemistry, an exothermic reaction involves mixing chemicals which produce light or heat. When water is poured into sulfuric acid, the water instantly and violently boils. And when the love of God is poured into a heart and mind filled with sin that wicked life will suddenly boil with love and affection for God. You see, loving God with all your mind and heart is a reaction to God’s love. God loved sinners first when he sent his Son, Jesus to die for the sins of his people. And we can only obey this great commandment by repenting of our sins and coming to Christ by faith for salvation. When we experience this love of God for us in Christ our mind will begin to meditate on God and our heart will delight in him.
By Pastor Allen Beardmore