THIS WEEK: LOVE God! How?
In this week’s teaching from Jesus and the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the expert in the law focused on whether he was loving the right people. “Who is my neighbor?” was the question he posed. Jesus then told the parable of the Good Samaritan. (Listen to the message with the links above.)
A statement that looms large in the lead up to the parable is the first part of his answer to the question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” While the message this week didn’t focus much on the first part, in our devotions this week we will ask specifically about the parts of the first statement:
(Luke 10:27) “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’…”
Each one of these components could lead us to want to “justify ourselves” before God and wonder, “And what does it mean to love God with all my….”
But before we get to “heart, soul, strength and mind” let’s pause on WHO we are loving in such a complete way?
We may ask, “And who is the “Lord your God”?
In a world and culture that loves to simply place all faith systems under “God,” it is important and significant to ask, “And, who is your God?”
The world is full of gods and things that are called god. So if we are going to love “God” with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind, wouldn’t it be important to make sure you are investing life in the one and only true God and not a pseudo God?
God himself thought so.
When this directive was given to the people of Israel at the end of Moses’ leadership, this God, the LORD God wanted to make sure the people knew there was NONE other they were to give the loyalty of their heart to. He was the LORD! The God of the covenant that promised the people of Israel a relationship with them through the coming Messiah. He was not only the faithful God he is “YOUR” God! He was and is personal. He desired to have a personal connection and relationship with every human being. He did not want our loyalties to be given to another.
Read the following and ask, “Is the LORD God the same as every other God?” (Deuteronomy 6:4-15)
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
10 When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
13 Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.
God is being completely clear. Isaiah 42:8 “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols.
Before we ask how to love with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, today be reminded of TO WHOM you are giving this loyalty…the LORD…YOUR…GOD!
Apply: What gods tug at your heart for your love and loyalty (money, honor, reputation, relationships, etc.)? Be reminded of how much greater the LORD YOUR GOD is than anything and anyone else that can try to take the loyalty of your heart.
Prayer: Lord, my God, thank you for your faithful covenant of grace by which you have revealed yourself to me and made me the object of your love. I am honored to love you above all else. Help me each day to do just that! AMEN