Jesus gives a definitive and straightforward answer when summarizing the greatest commandment of all: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Why is this one the most important commandment?
When we love God, obedience in everything else follows as we’re empowered by his Spirit. Truly understanding who God is, progressively transforms our hearts. It also causes us to love and worship him in a way that compels us to obey. Having this relationship with God doesn’t mean obedience is always easy, or that it’s done without some wrestling or even failings. But our delight in God and trusting in his ways will continue to grow.
Ironically, it is possible to obey God without loving him – which can produce successful religiosity. But it would be a shame to do all the “right things” and not have a saving faith, which is birthed out of a growing trust and love for God. Jesus addresses this when speaking of the teachers of the law. They crave the admiration of everyone while being blind to how it displeases God.
In contrast, Jesus lovingly points out the poor widow who sacrificially gives her two copper coins. To human eyes, there is nothing praiseworthy about her offering. Yet Jesus esteems her as having exemplary faith because what she gives represents everything she has. It’s not a facade like it is with the teachers of the law. Instead, it’s all-encompassing. Similarly, loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength is all-encompassing. That is why it’s the greatest commandment.
What are the ways you can love God with your heart, soul, mind, and strength this week? Begin by asking God to lovingly show you how.
Congregant, Foothills missionary, devout baseball fan