Jesus was often involved in religious debates, (I bet He would make a great blogger). Mark 12 records one of those debates with the Sadducees. A scribe of the Pharisees observed this debate and tried to pose his own trick question to the Savior, asking Him what was the greatest commandment.
Jesus gave this response: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. Mark 12:29-30
Notice that Jesus did not give the scribe a creed. Neither did He give him a commandment that would promote self-righteousness. He did not give him ammunition by which he could manipulate others. He gave them the opportunity and the responsibility to love God.
In this post, I will focus upon loving God with all of our heart. In subsequent posts I intend to deal with the other dimensions of love that Jesus enumerated.
Loving God with all of our heart involves three basic concepts:
1. Committing the Heart
Love is a choice. The fact that God gave us a commandment to love Him is evidence of this. There are many things that compete for the affection of our heart: family, friends, job, money, leisure, habits, etc. Perhaps none of these things are intrinsically wrong, but we all know they can become idols.
Some people may feel conflicted when it comes to placing love of God ahead of love of family and friends. I would suggest that our capacity to love others is increased when the love of God dominates us. We are then able to love others with a godly love that far exceeds the quality of human love.
2. Cleansing the Heart
The simple fact is, love changes us. We tend to worship what we love. It follows that we imitate what we worship. For us to love God with all of our heart means that we will seek to become godly. For this, we must be cleansed. There is much that can be said about cleansing that I will not get into at this point, but David prayed in Psalm 139:23, Search me, O God, and know my heart. Are we willing to submit our heart to God’s holy searchlight? Instead of rationalizing the sinful motives and feelings of our heart, are we willing to let God determine our rightness or wrongness?
3. Consecrating the Heart
When we love God with all of our heart, it literally becomes holy ground. We must take great care to guard our heart, for indeed, it does produce the issues of life. Every precaution should be taken to prevent sinful emotions and imaginations from taking root in us. The Word of God is the perfect tool for this task: Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee Psalm 119:11.
Meditation on the Scriptures must be constant. It is in this way that we feed the spiritual nature and deprive the carnal, giving us strength to overcome the temptations of the flesh.
Let us devote our heart to God. Make Him the passion of your life. Allow His love to dominate your life. Then, and only then will you discover the reason for which you were created.