Bible Reference: Mark 12:28–31
Bible Text: 28 …..“Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” 29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
Bible Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)
Many are caught aback by all of the commands in the Bible, and especially in the ten commandments, folks looking for a reason to whine and complain, tend to complain about the negativity in the commands. While we don’t see any of that in these verses, there was strong curiosity as to which one(s) were most important from Jesus’ perspective. Hearing the response from Jesus, makes this something that I believe His followers today really need to pay particular attention to, as I believe these contain very important demands for us still today. So here they are:
- 4 “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.[a] 5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:4-5
18 “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:18
There is an old pop song that included the words “All I need is love” throughout the song. I believe that the one characteristic that each of these important commands are built on is “LOVE”! In the first instance, we are told that we are to love our Maker, Creator, Savior and Way Maker with all of our being. Friends, it might strike some of you to ask, “well who wouldn’t”. Unfortunately there are many that don’t recognize our Master and Creator, so of course they have no reason to love someone who, in their opinion does not exist. May I remind you that many are looking at us to see whether we, who are called by His name, truly love God from the very depths of our being. What do you think? Would your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, be convinced enough through the love they see from you for your God? As we look at the second commandment, I want you to reflect on the last time you really got mad, or upset at yourself. Now, what did you do to yourself? Did you seek to hurt yourself or deprive yourself from some special treat or event? Did you tell others how evil you were and unlikeable you were? Did you build up strong fences or defenses to keep others away? Then friends, why do we do these things to our neighbors? Remember, neighbors are ones who we come into contact with. Sometimes they are sweet as ‘pie’ to us, and sometimes we get really upset at the things they do. You know, similar to what we probably do unconsciously to others! Jesus wants us to love these neighbors in spite of their faults – as much as we love our very own selves. How are you doing with that child of God?
Lord God, thank You for first loving us. You set the plumb line as an example for us. So often we fall so short on demonstrating the sincerity of love that You showed for us, for You loved us, even though You had no sign of love in return. Please use Your Word today to encourage, challenge and provoke us into loving You unconditionally with all our being. As we do this, I believe it will be a lot more natural for us to love one another, but please help us with that also dear Lord, for I believe that we will quickly brush others aside when they show no signs of love for us. Help us to love like You love us Heavenly Father, for I ask this all for Your ultimate glory, AMEN!
If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!