THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT COMMANDMENTS

Matthew 22:37-40 (When Jesus was responding to the question which is the greatest commandment.)

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Jesus in his response gives us the whole of what God expects from his created ones, love God and love our neighbors.  He states that if you follow these two commandments you’ve covered them all.  This sounds pretty simple doesn’t it?    Yet these two commandments highlight our greatest struggles.

I’ve always been unclear about what it means to love God with all my heart, soul, and mind, so I looked through various commentaries, and this is what I’ve surmised.  To love God with all your heart means that God is first and above all others and things in our affections.  Our soul is our very existence, our being.  With all your soul then means that we put our being completely into his hands.  The mind is our intellect, our thought processes. Loving God with all your mind is as proverbs 3:5 indicates: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”  I love adding some clarity to this commandment, and I see great freedom and comfort for us if we could conform to its instruction. But, I also see that following this commandment challenges our basic rebellious nature.

The second commandment is found in Leviticus 19:18.  It says: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”  The history of mankind clearly shows that humans have not followed God’s instructions on this commandment.  It directly confronts our self-centered nature.

Jesus has placed a great challenge before us.  God’s desire for us is represented in these two commandments.  He wants a close loving relationship with us, and he wants us to have a close loving relationship with each other. Imagine how wonderful life will be when God’s desire is fulfilled.  Keep the faith, for now what we can do is work on our part with God’s help. When Jesus returns God’s desire for us will be fulfilled.

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