Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” Mark 12:29-30 (ESV)
There were numerous occasions during his ministry on earth that Jesus was questioned by the religious authorities of his day. On one such occasion, Mark records that after Jesus had sufficiently answered the Sadducees concerning marriage and the resurrection, a scribe followed up with the question, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” (Mark 12:28-30 ESV)
In the light of Jesus’ answer we probably should ask ourselves some questions like, “What evidence is there in our lives that would give us peace in knowing that we love God?” and “How is our love for God manifest in and through our lives?” Though there are more, let’s explore three ways.
First, we know that we love God by being obedient to his commandments. Jesus spoke decisively on this issue. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15 ESV) “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” . . . “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.” (John 14:21, 23-24 ESV) The scribe, whom Jesus said answered rightly, may very will have been familiar with Samuel’s response to Saul’s disobedience, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22).
Secondly, we know we love God if we have love for our neighbors and Christian brothers and sisters. Again we turn to the apostle John. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:20-21 ESV) Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12 ESV). And the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31).
Thirdly, we know we love God if we love his son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is God in the flesh (John 1:1, 14). He is the radiance of God’s glory, the exact imprint of his nature (Hebrews 1:3). If you have seen the Son you have seen the Father (John 14:9). Whoever denies the Son, denies the Father and whoever honors the Son, honors the Father (1 John 2:23; John 5:23). If you obey the Son you obey the Father (John 14:24). If you love the Son you love the Father (John 8:42). Our love, worship and adoration of Jesus the son is also our love worship and adoration of God the Father; there is no difference between the two (Revelation 5:13).
How are we to love God? Jesus said with all of our hearts, souls, minds and strength. Do you love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength?”
Scriptures for meditation:
1 John 3:17
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