A religious leader once asked Jesus what was the most important commandment of all (Matthew 22:34-40). His reply was to “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, and mind.” He went on to say that the second greatest commandment was to love everyone else as much as we love ourselves. This is the essence of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Our lives are to be consumed with Him, and the way we express that is by giving the same love He has given us to everyone we meet. These are really the only “rules” required to be a disciple of Jesus. If we live in this way, we can be assured that we are living in the will of God.
One of the ways I pray each morning is to ask God to help me glorify Him in everything that I say, think, and do. It struck me recently that this prayer is really asking Him to help me fulfill the greatest commandment. The Bible teaches that whatever comes from our lips is a reflection of what is in our hearts (Luke 6:45). So if we love him with all of our heart, that love will govern what we say. Loving Him with all of our mind means our thoughts will be only of Him, pure and righteous. The soul represents our very essence. It is who we are. Therefore everything we do is guided by who we are at our very core. When we love Him with all our soul, every action we take will be a reflection of that love.
Loving the Lord with all of our heart, mind, and soul means glorifying Him in everything that we say, think and do. To take this one step further, if we love God in this way, then that love will overflow into the lives of those around us. We will no longer act selfishly. We’ll think of ourselves less and of others more. In this way we will fulfill the second commandment, to love our neighbor as ourselves. It’s a beautiful picture, one that was perfectly modeled by Jesus. He set the example we can never attain, but to which we must always aspire.
All of this is great to know in theory, but hard to put into practice. The more we do, however, the easier it becomes. The more our love for Jesus grows, the simpler it is to live out His commands. As you reflect on everything He did for you, how can you help but fall more deeply in love with Him? He put aside His infinite power to experience life as we do. He loves every person unconditionally and is merciful without limit. That love for us got Him killed. He sacrificed Himself on our behalf. He died so that we could have life eternally with Him. All of this came from His desire to be with us. That’s how much He loves us. Think about that the next time you are tempted to say, do, or think anything that is unpleasing to Him. Remember His love and return it to Him with all of your heart, soul, and mind.