Mark 12:28–30 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
A man was curious of what Jesus thought was the greatest commandment of God, so he asked him what was the first of all the commandments. Sometimes even today Christians wonder which commandments are the most important. People usually give close attention to the things that are most important to them, and as a Christian we ought to give special attention to what Jesus said was the chiefest of all commandments. Interestingly, he didn’t mention a particular religious ritual, duty, or an outward standard to keep. He went straight to our relationship with God. That the greatest thing we can do is to love God with all of our being. With that said, it would be greatly beneficial for us to ask ourselves questions to examine how our love for the Lord is. We know the abundance of Christ’s love for us, but how is your love for the Lord?
Do You Love Him With All of Your Heart?
The heart is considered to be the seat of the affections, emotions, and passions. All of which should center around God. Ask yourself who holds your greatest affection. Where is your passion? Are your emotions consumed with the things of this world? One man wisely said “The more objects you set your heart upon, the more thorns there are to tear your peace of mind to shreds.” When God is first in our love, we rest in him and his sovereign care. When God is not supreme in our love, then our life ends up being an emotional roller coaster of ups and downs. Often then we focus on self, success, money, and yet are full of anxiety. Jesus said where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. If your treasure is earthly and it is taken away then your heart will ache miserably. If the Lord is your treasure, then your heart can be at rest even in the most difficult of trials. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. God loved us first, may He be our passion in life loving him with all of our heart. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other.
Do You Love Him With All of Your Soul?
Loving the Lord with the whole soul constitutes the personality of a man, as distinguished from his body. The soul denotes a person’s conscious state and his life. We are to love God with all our life even if it meant death. We may never understand the fullness of this commandment, till we get as far as the martyrs, who rather than disobey God would be cast into the furnace, be beheaded, or devoured by wild beasts. Would you be willing to give your life for Christ? If you think so, then further question yourself on how you are living for him. Do you seek the Lord early? The psalmist said “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: My soul thirsteth for thee, My flesh longeth for thee In a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; (Psalm 63:1). Do you remember to give thanks and desire Him before you go to sleep? Isaiah 26:9 says “With my soul have I desired thee in the night; Yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early.”
If we are loving the Lord with all our soul then we will desire to be in the word of God. It will be a priority to us. It will mean more to us than any hobby or wealth. Psalm 119:16 “I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.” Psalm 19:10–11 “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: And in keeping of them there is great reward.” Has your desire for the word of God waned some? Renew your delight in it and strive to keep his commandments with joy. As recorded in John 14:15, Jesus said “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” If we are not seeking to obey the Lord, then our love is void.
If you love the Lord with all your soul then you will also hate the things that God hates. Do you hate wickedness and the evil of the world? Psalm 97:10 “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” If we are prone to continue in our sin without trying to forsake it and please the Lord, then it is evidence of not having a sincere love for the Lord. Let us strive to not sin against God.
1 John 2:15–17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Is there evidence that you love God with all your soul? Can you see spiritual fruit in your life? Better yet, can others see spiritual fruit in your life? Do you have a good report with those you are often around and even those you may see infrequently?
Do You Love Him With All of Your Mind?
Do the things of the Lord come to your mind throughout the day? Or are they forgotten once the Lord’s Day has passed? Do you seek to study the Bible with thy mind and understanding? We ought to also hate every false way and heretical teachings. Psalm 119:104 “Through thy precepts I get understanding: Therefore I hate every false way.”
Do you love God and follow him even though your mind cannot comprehend everything about God? Dr. Alexander Maclaren used to tell of a man of great intellectual power whom he longed to win to Christ. To do so the famous preacher preached a whole series of sermons dealing with intellectual difficulties. To the doctor’s delight, the man came shortly afterward and said he had become a convinced Christian and he wanted to join the church. Overjoyed, the doctor said, “And which of my sermons was it that removed your doubts?” “Your sermons?” said the other. “It wasn’t any of your sermons. The thing that set me thinking was that a poor woman came out of your church beside me and stumbled on the steps. When I put out my hand to help her, she smiled and said “thank you” and then added, ‘Do you love Jesus Christ my blessed Saviour? He means everything to me.’ I did not then, but I thought about it. I found I was on the wrong road. I still have many intellectual difficulties, but now He means everything to me, too.” We may not always understand certain things about God or why he is allowing some trial in our life, but if we trust him with our mind we will have peace. Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on thee: Because he trusteth in thee.”
Do You Love Him With All Of Your Strength?
We are to love Jesus Christ with all our strength, that is, to love him actively with our abilities. We ought not to put the Lord last in our capacity of strength and energy. God forbid that we should put temporal things first, and then be too tired to serve God. May we give God our full capacity. Ask yourself the following questions regarding how much effort you put into your love and service to the King of kings.
Is coming to the house of God (church) a priority to you? Psalm 111:1 “Praise ye the Lord. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, In the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.” Hebrews 10:24-25 further says “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” If it is in our ability and within our strength to attend church faithfully, and we simply choose not to make it a priority, then it reveals that our love for the Lord is lacking. As Jesus said in Luke 6:46 “…why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Not only should you attend a Bible preaching church regularly, but you should also become a part of the body via serving in a ministry or function of the church. Read Romans 16:1-12 and see how the early Christians had a great love for serving in the Lord’s church. Also, as God has prospered you, do you financially invest in the work of the Lord? For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. May our hearts be involved in the work of the Lord. We often don't like preachers talking about giving, but our desire to give or not to give does manifest our heart and whether we love the Lord with the financial strength he has given us.
Love the Lord thy God with Your All
As a church and as a Christian, it is certainly possible to labor heavily in the work of the Lord, to have godly spiritual traits, to hate wickedness, to stand solidly for sound Bible doctrine, and to have the discernment to know false teachings, and yet still have lost our first love for the Lord. Check out the church of Ephesus. That’s what happened with them. They had many things right, but their love was lacking.
Revelation 2:1–4 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
The reality is we all fall short of where our love for God should be. Yet, may we diligently seek to love the Lord God with all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our mind, and with all of our strength. How is your love for the Lord? Restore your first love for Christ.
Are there other questions you think can be helpful to ask ourselves in examining our love for the Lord? If so, please mention them in the comments.
Ephesians 6:24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.