Day 658 – Love The Lord your God

Love The Lord your God

Love The Lord your God

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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 12:30

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.

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.”

That helps us change our perspective. As we learn to love God with everything, we begin to see our difficulties as “our light and momentary troubles”—just as the apostle Paul described his grueling ordeals. He had in mind a “far more exceeding and eternal . . . glory” (2 Cor. 4:17).

In the advanced school of prayer, where one loves God with the entire soul, doubts and struggles do not disappear, but their effect on us diminishes. “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19), and our urgent questions recede as we learn to trust His ultimate goodness.

Once earthly joy I craved, sought peace and rest;
Now Thee alone I seek; give what is best.
This all my prayer shall be:
More love, O Christ, to Thee.

The most treasured gift we can give to God is one that He can never force us to give—our love.
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[boxes type=”” title=”Insight”]Many Bible scholars believe that Mark’s gospel record was written primarily to a Roman audience. Part of the reason for this view is rooted in the fast-paced presentation of the story of Jesus with a focus on action and movement. Also contributing to this thinking is Mark’s occasional parenthetical explanations of Jewish practices that would likely have been foreign to the people of Rome. One example is seen in Mark 7:3-4, where the ceremonial washing of hands is described.[/boxes]

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