Loving God is the Most Important Thing
Loving God is the most important thing we could ever do. The Israelites were given the command to love God for the first time in Deuteronomy 6:4 and then again in Mark 12:28-34.
We say that we love God but I know for myself, I have barely experienced the depth of what loving God is really all about.
Today we are looking at Mark 12:28-34 as we continue our Weariness to Strength series.
When you are weary, you can become self-focused when we should be ‘others’ focused.
You can find strength in looking to the needs of others in Christ’s love instead of imploding on your own troubles.
The Backstory to Mark 12:29-31
This passage starts off with one of the Scribes coming to Jesus with a question, asking him which is the first commandment of all. Matthew 12:28
Isn’t it amazing how Jesus can see right through our motives? Look what happens here . . .
We know from Matthew 22:35 that the Pharisees were the instigators of this question. They had put one of the Pharisees up to asking the question. But according to Coffman’s Commentary on the Bible, they inadvertently asked the wrong guy because he was almost persuaded to follow the Jesus! He still asked the question that represented the rest of the Pharisees but Jesus saw right through the situation.
These verses in Mark are referring back to Deuteronomy 6:4 where it is being quoted from.
Loving God More than Anything Else
Jesus’ answer was more involved than the Pharisees had expected!
Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31
Jesus’ answer was more involved than just loving God or empty words that say, “I love God.”
Now, I want you to think about this deeply.
That is what I am doing.
I am examining my heart like the Bereans and coming up short. Acts 17:11
I don’t really know what loving God so completely would look like.
This wasn’t just a commandment from the Old Testament or the Pharisees. Jesus repeated it’s importance when He was on earth and it applies to us over 2000 years later!
You Shall Love Your God with ALL Your Being
- With ALL your heart
- With ALL your soul
- With ALL your mind
- You shall love your neighbor as yourself
If you love God with ALL of your heart, NOTHING will take God’s place. He will be center of every thought, word, and action you make.
Love God with ALL Your Heart*
Your heart refers to your brain. It is the thinking part of your being. Jeremiah 4:14
The word heart is being used metaphorically to refer to the thinking part of your being. Your brain. Matthew 15:19
Love God with ALL Your Soul*
This is the part of our being that refers to your eternal spirit. Many people pay no attention to this part of themselves because they can’t see it and if it is ‘sick’ it cannot be operated and corrected through physical means.
When Adam was created (Genesis 2:7), he was not considered to be ‘alive’ until God breathed an eternal soul or spirit into his being. The words soul and spirit are interchangeable.
When you die, your physical body is no longer needed to house your eternal soul. Your body will not move or have life any longer but your soul will go eternally to hell or heaven depending on how you have responded to Jesus.
Loving God with ALL Your Mind*
It is easy to misunderstand what the Bible means by the mind and think it is the brain.
What the Bible is referring to as the mind is in the soul. It is our conscience which is part of our soul that lives on eternally in hell or heaven.
To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. Titus 1:15
and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, Ephesians 4:23
God wants us to renew our mind and spirit.
How Loving God Will Strengthen You When You are Weary
Have you been wondering why I included these verses from Mark in the Weariness to Strength study?
When you get really tired or are weary of well-doing for your family and others, you can end up totally self-focused.
When you are exhausted, if you are like me, you are thinking how you just want to sit down or go to bed. Maybe you are even wondering why no one else sees how tired you are of doing everything and why they don’t help. We get kind of like Martha!!
I shared the verses before and after Mark 12:29-31 so that you would get it in context. Jesus saw right through the question the Pharisees were asking just like
He sees right into your heart (and mine too) and sees whether we are being a Martha or Mary.
Jesus sees our motives!
When you are really tired out from dealing with your rebellious daughter, or maybe (as much as you love your grandbabies) you are exhausted from caring and doing things with them, Jesus sees and cares for you very much!
When we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us with love and flow out to others, even when we are exhausted, we will begin to have the strength to carry-on.
Loving God means that we are filled with His love and then it flows out to our neighbors.
This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31
Our neighbors translate into being our husband, children, grandchildren, mother-in-law, friends, and the others we come in contact with.
We are given the strength both physically because there is something invigorating about doing for others that is sustainable.
We are given the ability and strength to love even when our rebellious child is being beyond difficult and we are facing real adversity in the situation.
We learn to love God deeper and deeper with all of our heart, soul, and mind and then His love flows through us to those in our life.
Are you loving God deeper and deeper with your heart, soul, and mind? How can you grow in your expression of God’s love?
*I was blessed by Jo over at Bite-Size Bible with clarifying the difference between our heart, soul, and mind so that I could explain it here. Her post came to the top of my Google search.