Read Matthew 22:34-39.
When the Pharisees came to test Jesus, they asked Him what the greatest commandment in the Law was. They were hoping to drive a wedge between Jesus and the crowds who were following Him. But Jesus didn’t hesitate. He told them plainly: The greatest commandment is the Shema: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37; cf. Deuteronomy 6:5).
Of course, the Jews in Jesus’ day knew this commandment. They memorized it. They wore it on their wrists and on their foreheads. They placed it on the doorframes of their homes. They knew this command backward and forward. But they didn’t live it out.
To love God with an all-consuming love is to obey His Word; it’s to obey Him unconditionally. Jesus, in quoting this verse known as the Shema in Jewish tradition, highlighted three ways we are to do this: with our hearts, with our souls, and with our minds. Let’s start with the mind.
To love God with all your mind means that you love God with your intellect, that you love God with determination and commitment. The Pharisees and religious leaders who confronted Jesus weren’t doing this. They were loving God with their words and their rituals but not with the totality of their being. If they had loved God with their minds, they would have put Him first and foremost in their lives. They would have obeyed Him fully.
In another place, Jesus made it very clear to His disciples, saying, “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15). Obeying requires a decision of the mind. It is a determination. It means you’re intentionally choosing one thing over all other options. If your will is in gear and ready to go—if you love God with all your mind—all of the other ways of loving the Lord are going to fall in place.
But friends, here’s a word of warning: Past failures are like chains that will hold you back and keep you from growing in your love for Jesus. When you let the past be the past and you focus your attention, your mind, your will, and your desire on loving Jesus, you will be amazed at what He will accomplish in you. God will open doors to things you once thought were impossible.
Prayer: Father, I ask that You would empower me to receive Your grace to cover my failings so that I will not be hindered from growing in my love for You. May all of my mind be occupied ith You so that I become less and Christ becomes more in me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“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’” (Matthew 22:37-38).
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