Greatest Commandment :: By John Lysaught

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 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” (Matthew 22:36-40, NIV).

Do you love the Lord your God with all yourself (heart, soul, and mind)?

I do. I meditate all day long on God, even while working at my job, watching TV, doing yard work, etc. My parallel thinking is thoughts about the things of God and conversing with Christ. I guess you can say I talk with God all day in my mind, with my heart, and with soul. My heart is always thinking of the heart of Christ and what I can do to reflect that love to others.

For me, this has been a process in my growth with Christ. After the excitement and zeal I had for Jesus after I was baptized, my zeal’s punch turned into a light tapping. I didn’t have Jesus in the forefront in my mind all the time. In fact, He was put in the back seat of my life. I knew He was there and I would only talk to Him when I needed something. I was like a teenager, talking to my parents only when I needed something — like a ride or money, or advice that I wouldn’t listen to unless it agreed with the same advice I was giving myself.

I realized one day that I wanted the zeal for the Lord back in my life. I wanted the excitement of knowing God. I wanted to get to know Jesus more intimately. In the beginning of my renewed walk, I stumbled on the passage cited in the beginning of this article (when I randomly opened the Bible and read the chapter which I had opened). This verse made things so clear to me─to love God with all my heart, soul, and mind. That meant I needed to give Christ all of me. To walk closer with Christ I needed to get myself into the Word and pray thanks and guidance, not just wants. I didn’t want to treat Christ as a convenience store anymore, only running to Him to get something I thought I needed. I wanted Jesus as my home in my heart all the time.

I mean, look, loving the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind is easy but at the same time it is hard. It’s easy because God is love, but it is hard because, like any relationship, such as marriage, getting to the point of loving God with all of you takes work. It’s not a 100-meter dash; it’s a long marathon to get to the point where you are close to Christ. It’s a life’s journey from the moment you are saved by grace and the sacrifice of Christ. It’s your goal to live by this greatest commandment in your daily walk until you die or whisked away in the Rapture.

You can’t rebuild an engine by placing the tools around the car and walk away hoping the next time you are in the garage the engine is built, that the parts and the tools worked themselves on their own to get the engine built so it is running and finely tuned. No! It takes work, like your walk with Christ. You don’t put raw chicken on the counter in the morning and expect a roasted meal to be ready for you when you come home from work. No! It takes you to prepare the meal, put it in the oven, check on it from time to time, and take it out of the oven, prepare the fixings in order to eat it.

This is the same with our relationship to Christ. We can’t get saved and then set our salvation to the side and wait for our relationship with Christ to just grow on its own. No! Our relationship with Christ is just what I said: our own. If you are content to just be saved, then that is your choice. Are you content just to be married or have a girlfriend or boyfriend and just leave it at that? Probably: not.

I hope that you work on your marriage every day to make it stronger. Or if you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, are you content with that level of relationship? I hope not. I hope you work toward marriage and then a family and a long life of happiness with each other. This is the same with our relationship with Christ. We can’t just get saved and set that salvation to the side. You should want to grow in your relationship with Christ. You should want to learn about Him and talk to Him and lay your burdens on Him. Just like your marriage, you just don’t get married and then do your own thing and never talk or try to improve your marriage with your spouse.

To love Christ with all your heart, mind, and soul takes effort on your part. Get into the Word. Talk to God all the time. Ask Him questions, complain about your day to Him, and thank him for his blessings. Also, as part of this growth, you need the one thing that we all have a problem with: listen.

When you converse with God, listen to what He has to say. Don’t make it a one-way conversation from you to Him. He will impress thoughts to you, attitudes, and will impress things on your heart that you have never felt before. Listen. Listen to his voice talking to your mind, soul, and heart. You’ll be amazed at what you will hear from Christ when you shut-up and listen. Just like a relationship with your spouse, you will learn a lot about their day, their concerns and their feelings if you just listen. When you work and rebuild that engine, you listen to it to fine-tune it so it runs smooth. You just don’t put it together and hope it works. Nope, you still have to fine-tune it, just like your relationship with Christ.

What about loving your neighbor? This sounds easy right? Love your neighbor as you love yourself. If you don’t love your self, then you can’t love your neighbor. This command goes hand-in-hand with loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind. If you love God, you will love your self. As you grow in your relationship with God, you can’t help but radiate the love of God in your thoughts, actions, and interactions with others.

I recall the story of the Good Samaritan and how Jesus talks about the Samaritan being the loving neighbor to a stranger. I understand it to be that when my relationship with God is right, when I love Christ with all my heart, soul, and mind, I project that love to the people around me. How can I hate when I love the God of love.

Does this mean that I don’t get irked: by people? No, but it means I must love them on a different level. Do I agree with how my neighbors treat others or live their lives of sin? No, but by showing my love of God with my heart, soul, and mind, I believe that I positively affect those people by showing the love God gives me by giving it to them. It’s not my place to judge my neighbors. It is my job to show them love. If I can’t show my neighbors, love, how can I introduce them to Christ? If I can’t show my neighbors, love, how can I say that I’m a follower of Jesus?

Do I mess this up sometimes? Yes, all the time. When I do, I ask for forgiveness from Christ for my actions and try my best to make things right with my neighbor to show them that I do have Christ in my heart and I want the best for them. Who are my neighbors? They are all my friends, acquaintances, and strangers that cross my path. Who do you consider your neighbor and how do you treat them; the ones you know and the strangers that cross your path?

You may be asking how to you attain this kind of love with God and how do you show love to your neighbor? It is simple: Accept Christ as your Lord and Savior. Accept Him into your heart and allow Him to work in you and you with Him. Get saved! Today, right now! Having God’s saving grace through the redemption offered by the sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ is the only way to attain and truly live this great commandment to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind.

Do you feel like you are missing something in your life? Do you want more for your life than what you have now? By accepting Christ as your Savior, your life will change. You will be a different person. You will become a child of God and no one can take that away from you. Getting saved is easy. Accept that Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead and went heaven. The “easy” hard part is working on your relationship with him so you can live the greatest commandment: “Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind.”

Be faithful in your Bible studies and pray regularly, every day, all the time talking to God in your thoughts and heart. Your reward for your efforts will be blessings in your life and eternity in heaven.

God bless you, and may the Lord be with you always in your endeavors.

John Lysaught