Called to love God with all our hearts, mind and soul.
The first and great commandment that we are called to keep requires us to “Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt 22:37).
As we consider this commandment let us first look at how God loves us. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins”. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God’s love is a sacrificial love. He was willing to sacrifice His only begotten Son for us, that by His death, he would reconcile us to the Father to enjoy the close and personal relationship with, us that His heart desires, a relationship that can only be built on trust and obedience. Our love for Him should mirror His love for us.
There is, therefore, only one way in which we can love God as completely and wholly as He requires of us, and that is simply to hand over our lives to Him in all its totality. It means that we surrender our lives completely to Him with all its desires and self-centeredness and restore to Him His rightful place as Sovereign Lord in our lives, giving Him complete control over every area of our lives. When we believe that we are no longer our own but His, having been bought with the blood of Christ, submission and obedience will follow, allowing His will and purposes to be worked out in and through us. This is what Jesus meant when He said, “If you love me you will keep my commandments” and “He who has my commandments and keeps them it is he who loves Me.” (John 14:15 and 21).. The more we love Him the more we desire to obey His commandments and the more we are blessed in the keeping of the commandments the more we love Him.
Jesus set us an example by ‘doing always those things that pleased the Father’ John 8:29, because He loved the Father. Will our love for God be marked by a desire to please Him, demonstrated by our willingness to sacrifice all we hold dear in order to obey His commandments and serve Him at any cost, not out of obligation or fear, but out of hearts overflowing with love and gratitude for Him for all we have received from Him, and for the sheer joy of pleasing Him? He longs for us to know just how much He loves us, and for us to love Him for Himself. He owes us nothing, we owe Him everything. What else can we do but love Him with all of our hearts, souls and minds?
Let us pray that we can understand the full dimension of God’s love for us (Eph 3:18,19) and reciprocate that love by living in Him and for Him in obedience, setting our own wills and desires aside to live lives glorifying to Him.
Thank you Lord for loving us so much that you did not hold back from sending Your beloved Son to die for us and restore us to you. Help us Lord to take in fully what that cost you and be willing to lay down our lives for you in gratitude for your great gift. Teach us what it means to love sacrificially to the glory of your Name. Amen