Jesus and the lawyer,
- “Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.'” (Matthew 22:35-38 – NKJV)
Yes, we know it well don’t we? The lofty “first” and most important “commandment:” that we, the creation of “the LORD God” are to “love” Him and we are to do so sacrificially and “with all (our) heart, with all (our) soul, and with all (our) mind.”
How are you doing with the “first and great commandment?” Got it down pat?
How often do we recall to our thinking this “great commandment?” Let me say that I think that, since it has preeminence in the “laws” of “God, it should be something we consider very frequently . . . and I know that I am not going beyond my place as a believer to say such. It comes to us, this “commandment” from the lips of the One we know to be our authority . . . our Lord Jesus Christ.
A lofty goal for every believer! But, is it one we have a handle on all of the time? In His message to the church at Ephesus in Revelation, chapter two, Jesus said to them,
- “. . . I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Revelation 2:4 – NKJV)
Probably no surprise to us is it, that this might happen in a body of believers? Why? Because if we are honest with ourselves, we know that we struggle with our “love” for our Lord, and it is, unfortunately, all too prevalent in the church then and in the church today.
In his book, “Christ’s Call To Reform The Church,” Dr. John MacArthur addresses this particular matter so very well,
- “The truth is, none of us can ever say our love for Him really is everything it should be. That first and greatest of all the commandments — to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind — sets an impossibly high standard. given the weakness of our flesh, the curse of sin, the persistence of temptation, and the many earthly distractions that vie for our attention and affections, wholehearted, single-minded love for Christ is frustratingly elusive. We all must confess with the apostle Paul that under the standard set ty the law, we are abject failures:” Dr. MacArthur then quotes from Romans, chapter seven,
- “I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” (Romans 7:21-23 – NKJV)
In fact the apostle had previously said,
- “. . . for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.” (Romans 7:18 – NKJV)
- “In short, none of us has ever perfectly fulfilled the first, most basic of all God’s commandments for as much as an hour.”
He goes on to say,
- “We need to recognize that failure as sin, and as the gateway to greater sin.”
Ah yes, a “gateway to greater sin.” Oh to remember that the Father loves us and the Son loves us, and they have loved us like no one else has ever or ever will love us. And we know that we show our love for them as we obey their commandments (cf. John 14:21; 15:10).
So, “the greatest commandment” is there and it is our calling as disciples of Christ to strive to attain to it, and willingly so. And if we would just pause in each of our spiritual walks, and daily assert in our prayers to our Father that we desire to “love” Him “with all (our) heart, with all (our) soul, and with all (our) mind,” just maybe we would at least attain to a portion of His “greatest” desire for us.
As I have said, a lofty goal . . . but certainly one we should earnestly desire to achieve.”
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