"One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:35-40 NLT).
It took me a good many years before I understood that if you look closely at the Ten Commandments God handed down to Moses, the first four pertain to our relationship with God. They show us how we can love Him with all of our heart, soul and mind. The next six show us how we can love others as we love ourselves.
Check out the first four….
1- Have no other gods but Him. “For thus says the Lord, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: ‘I am the Lord, and there is no other’” (Isaiah 45:18 NKJV). Love believes in the One True God and all He has done.
2- Do not make for yourself an idol. “You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods” (Exodus 20:5a NLT). Love worships the One True God and Him only.
3- Do not misuse His name. “You shall not use or repeat the name of the Lord your God in vain [that is, lightly or frivolously, in false affirmations or profanely]; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7 AMP). Love honors the Lord by respecting His name.
4-Remember to keep a Sabbath day for Him. “You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work” (Exodus 20 9-10a NLT). Love dedicates a day of Sabbath to the Lord.
So, the question Tina asked, “What’s love got to do with it?” was answered when Jesus responded to the lawyer that the greatest commandment could be summed up in a word; love. If we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we believe that He is the One True God. While some seek to find faith in other gods, a Christ-follower has no need to search beyond God and His Word.
If we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, we refuse to worship any other idol. Buddha doesn’t sit on our shelf, nor do I give people or things a higher place in my life than God has. Money can become an idol, as can children, a spouse or career. Sin becomes an idol when we refuse to surrender it to Christ.
Loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength places His name in such high esteem and regard that we would never speak it disrespectfully. I love how the Amplified Version clarifies this for us: “that is, lightly or frivolously, in false affirmations or profanely.” We are careless with the Lord’s name. We cuss and swear and use His name to vent our frustrations and anger, with absolutely no regard for the third commandment. We must not use His name lightly, frivolously, profanely or with false affirmations. Remember, He knows your heart.
Loving God with all that is within me makes me willing to set aside a day for Him. Sunday is our day. We attend church and honor Him with that day. There are some Sundays when we go to church and do absolutely nothing the rest of the day; there are some days when a little work does get done, but it always gets done after we have spent our morning in fellowship with other believers. Go to church. Give him a few hours on a Sunday morning. Make the Sabbath day an important day because you love Him.
Take a quick look at these four Commandments and ask yourself how well you are living out the first Commandment. Do you love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength? How would you rate each of these with 1- “I need to work on this” to 10- “I’ve got this down?”
Next week we will check out the remaining six Commandments, but for now, as we get ready to celebrate Valentine's Day with the one we love, let’s remember that L is for Love, and love believes, worships, honors and dedicates.