Day 25 – God’s Priorities
Let’s get practical again. We have determined that abiding in Christ (drawing nourishment from Him) is central to our lives, but that can sound a little vague or abstract. How do we abide in Him? How do we go about connecting to this one and only Source of all life?
Jesus helps us when He was faced with a question that was probably intended to trip Him up:
- 28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”
- 29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.
- 30 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.
- 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
When He was asked about the greatest commandment, He didn’t just answer the question – He expanded on it. He didn’t just give one answer, but two. And that is very significant!
Evidently, Jesus couldn’t just leave it at the first answer. Now, the first answer is wonderful and great, and virtually all-encompassing – Love the Lord your God. But He needed to expand on it in order to show us what that was going to look like.
Two things we should bear in mind when we read this: the first is that He was talking to the Pharisees and other religious leaders. They had mastered the technique of “loving” God through rules and traditions, all the while neglecting the very people God wanted to relate to. “…they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers” (Matt 23:4). He knows we can all have that tendency, so we must take it to heart.
Secondly, understand that the “love” Jesus is talking about is not an emotion, but the agapé love of God – doing good for others. God’s love involves action.
He said the 2nd was "like" the first. So we can surmise that loving our fellow man (both neighbours and enemies) is like loving God. If we love God, we must love what He loves. So when we talk about abiding in God – continuing to live in Him – we must consider both of these commandments.
Why is loving people closely connected to loving God?