The Greatest Commandment

soul_cries_out“‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’” Mt. 22:36,37 (ESV)

Chapter         (ESV)

Audio              (4:40)

Yesterday I wrote about the parable of the Prodigal Son and how it reveals yet another side of God our Father. Our Heavenly Father is a God who seeks our return to Him when we sin and celebrates that return with rejoicing.

Continuing in the light of that story now that the son has returned home to his Father, what exactly does the Father expect of him? Is that son now able to sit back and live in leisure doing whatever he desires?

As the older brother in the parable clearly reveals… there is work to be done.

But we are called into that work, not as slaves or as servants. We are called to work alongside our Heavenly Father as sons and daughters.

As I wrote on January 23rd regarding Eph. 2:10, we are created to make an impact on those around us through certain works that God has prepared in advance for us.

Another word for works is actions, and actions arise out of attitudes, which in turn flow from our affections.

In other words, our actions don’t simply appear out of thin air, they come from places deep within us. They ultimately come out of our affections.

This is why the greatest and most important commandment involves our affections. We are commanded to love God with ALL our hearts, souls, minds and strength.

The process of learning to love God with ALL of who we are is internal work completed in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, most people focus on external work dealing with their actions while ignoring the necessary internal work that deals with their affections.

True spiritual growth will not occur unless we deal with both externals and internals.

Today’s verse reminds us that primary in that internal work is to learn to love God…completely. It is one thing to recognize and receive God’s love from Him. It is another to turn around and love Him back with everything we are.

It takes a lifetime to learn how to do that.

Prayer: Lord, show me where I am failing to love You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.

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