Mark 12: 28 - 34 reads, One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" "The most important one," answered Jesus, is this: 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."
The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." Well said, teacher, the man replied. You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices. When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
As followers of Christ, we could all probably agree that our world, nation, state, community and ourselves needs to be not only reminded of the two greatest commandments that Jesus commands us to follow but to truly adhere to these commands by putting them into practice in our lives. The world seems to literally be crumbling all around us. I've never been a doom and gloom kind of guy but all of the events taking place all around us is simply exhausting. Take refuge my friend; I have great news. God is still on the throne.
Yes, the world is fading; scripture teaches us that! In order for us to rise up above the clutter of sin that is all around us we need to live out these two commands from our Savior. Another way of stating these two commandments is this; "Love God supremely and love your neighbor genuinely." Let's all memorize and apply that phrase in our lives. Let this phrase penetrate to our core. Loving God supremely is easy to say but often times difficult to do. The stain of sin is not only found in this world but is found upon us as well.
Sin for the believer in Christ has been forgiven. It is because of this forgiveness that we have the ability and capability to love God supremely - with everything we got! Loving our neighbor genuinely is also easy to remember but can certainly be very difficult to pull off. We love people genuinely that genuinely love us. No problem with that. To love as Christ loves is a doozey. The only way we can be successful of loving another person genuinely is to first love God, supremely.
If we do not love God, with all we got -we have no chance of loving others genuinely. Loving people genuinely does not mean that we have to love the things they love. We don't have to love someone's hobbies. We are not called to love one's lifestyle. We are simply commanded to love our neighbor, genuinely.
Truly desiring that every person; all democrats, all republicans, all races, all sinners, all everybody find the Lord as their Savior and land in Heaven with the Lord when they die and breathe their last breath. Our desire should be God's desire. 2 Peter 3:9 says, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." If Gods desire is that none should perish (die and go to Hell) then our same desire should be of Gods; that all would accept Christ as their Lord and Savior.
So how are you doing? Do you love God supremely? Do you love your neighbor genuinely? If you are like me, you have some work to do. Let us fall more in love with Christ so that we can live out the two greatest commandments from our Lord.
Tim Colovos is pastor of First Baptist Church of Portland