I have a brother in Christ who not only loves the Lord, but also loves His word as well. The Lord has given him several good studies and he wanted to share some of them. He wishes to remain anonymous as he desires all credit and therefore glory to be given to the Lord. So starting tonight, I will from time to time post some of his lessons and studies under the name ‘The Servant’. Both he and I pray that these will be a blessing to the reader and covet your prayers. Tonight’s post, ‘The Greatest Commandment’, marks the first of what will be many posts from The Servant, good Lord willing.
Jesus was asked about the first or greatest commandment; unfortunately the Scribe’s motive was not pure but Jesus answered him anyway. What Jesus says next is the crown jewel of Christian maturity. Mark 12:29-30 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, 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.
All Our Heart
The heart, in scripture, embodies who we are, our personality if you will. A scripture that illustrates this point is found in Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
Although Christianity starts with a decision it is much more than that, it is a process. As we study and learn of God we gain understanding of how to please Him. As we dedicate ourselves to prayer both to ask of God and to be still so we can receive of God a closer relationship forms.
I have heard these verses taught and preached as if they are all but unobtainable. Would God require of us something we cannot obtain? Simply put our old man nature did not mind the things of God: when we were saved God put a new nature inside us so we could learn and understand Him. Our heart was given to God; we should fill it with the things that please Him. If we apply ourselves to learning God’s word and spend time with Him in prayer, both speaking and listening, we will grow and keep this part of the greatest commandment.
All Our Soul
All the way back in Genesis 2:7 and continuing forward the word “soul” is synonymous with life, being alive, thinking and reasoning. While we have life our actions are to honor God; we don’t listen, watch, or go to the places that do not honor or bring glory to God. On the other hand we gravitate to the things of God and the people of God. We see this throughout the bible, “touch not the unclean thing” 2 Corinthians 6:17, “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good” Romans 12:9. When Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt they went south to Mt. Sinai where God gave the commandments. Along with the law God instructed Moses to build a Tabernacle where He could meet with His children. Church is supposed to be our sanctuary; a place where we come to get away from the world, to worship our God, to learn of God and be with others who feel the same way. What possible rationale can we use to ignore assembling together in God’s house?
To conform to this section of the greatest commandment our life, our actions, should show clear evidence we are of God. These actions include separating from evil and seeking those things that are right and pure in the sight of God.
All Our Mind
I find it unlikely that there is a single person desirous to show the world what is going on in their mind. The mind is after all the place where all actions form. Many of the things that go through our mind do not become actions; that would be called discretion. This is also the place where Satan inserts temptation. We then have a choice to make, to dismiss it or dwell on it.
Within the mind we find motive; this is the subject of this segment of the greatest commandment. Our motives are dictated by what we consider important. An actor asks the director “What is my motivation for this scene” which he uses to pattern his body language and speech to fit the scene’s intent. As Christians our motives are to be pure so our actions produce Godly results. Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. The word renewing is a repeating action, not a one-time event. When Paul said I die daily what did he mean? Obviously he didn’t mean literally, he meant daily he had to commit to purity and to do this he had to renew his mind, establish what is important and align his motives to the things of God. To comply with this section of the greatest commandment we must do the same thing Paul did daily by renewing our mind and setting our motives to honor our God.
All Our Strength
We have been talking about taking what God gave us when we were saved and allowing our spiritual gifts to grow. Now we are challenged to put up our own effort. So what do we possibly have that God desires of us? First of all God does not have our obedience, we must freely give it. God does not force anyone to serve Him. Our obedience is precious to God and it is within our strength to give it.
God does not have our time; we must freely give that as well. Yes, God gives us existence but what we do with that existence is up to us. When we give of our time to help a less fortunate person, to teach a class, to drive a church bus, to go out on soul winning visitation, to visit shut-ins, to preach, to sing, to usher, to serve on parking lot duty to name a few we have given God something He didn’t have.
In this section of the greatest commandment we are to put human energy into spiritual service to our God. We are to give Him our obedience and our time to see the gospel spread to those who are still in darkness.
I have divided the greatest commandment into these four parts to demonstrate we can obey this command. God did not give us an unobtainable goal; He gave us the key to living a victorious Christian life.