“Teacher, which kind of commandment is great and important (the principal kind) in the Law? [Some commandments are light--which are heavy.] And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect). This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself. These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22: 36-40 (Amplified Bible)
Do you ever wonder what is MOST important about the Christian life? What ONE THING MUST we “do” in order to live a life that pleases God?
A few weeks back, we had a young man speak at our church. In his sermon he referred to “we have got to get this right” as he referred to “loving vertical” (meaning our relationship with God), and “loving horizontally” (meaning our relationship with one another). Repeatedly throughout his sermon, he made reference to this and always illustrated it in the “picture” of the cross.
Ever since that day, that illustration and his words have permeated my thoughts OFTEN! He is correct – we MUST get this right! Jesus said in these verses, that upon this one particular truth EVERYTHING else “hinges.” In The Amplified translation, He says “sum up and upon them depend ALL the law.” EVERYTHING else then, must be of lesser importance in our visible witness to the world around us.
My purpose in living is to honor Christ Jesus my Savior and Lord. There are many things I can do to please Him. There are many things I must do to demonstrate His preeminence I my life. However, this ONE thing is of most importance – and is the most visible—LOVING GOD AND, from that love for Him, loving others!
My first priority must be Christ. I must love Him supremely. My love for Him dominates everything about my life. Failure to place Him first and foremost, makes Him less in every aspect of my life. Therefore, I must love Him supremely if I am to make impact in the other aspects of my life.
And – if I have that right, then my love for God is VIVIDLY demonstrated in my love for others! The world KNOWS if I am abiding in Christ as I should based on the outward evidence of my love and concern for my fellow man. I have got to get that right. EVERYTHING else hinges on these two levels of loving God and loving others.
John 15 encourages us to “abide in Him.” If we abide in Him, that will be evident. My prayer today is simple, LORD – may I love you more than anything or anyone. May I place you first in my life. And Lord, may all those around me see that I love you in the ways I demonstrate my love for you in my actions toward my fellow man. Help me to love others better than I love myself. And Father, as a result of my witness in your love, may others see Jesus and come to know you as Lord.
“For you formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb….And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as of yet there was not one.” Psalm 139: 13, 16b, NASB
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…” Jeremiah 1: 5a, NASB
“I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life.” 1 Samuel 1:11, HCSB
In 1 Samuel we see that Samuel grew up knowing he was born for a unique purpose. Before we move on from that statement, let us UNDERSTAND that each of us was born for a unique purpose! The birth of Samuel itself had been an answer to his mother's impassioned prayers.
We know the story, Hannah prayed that God would give her a child. She further prayed that if God gave her a son, she would dedicate him to God. Samuel did have a choice in how he lived, but he wisely chose to follow the path that God set out for him. Samuel lived his entire life secure in the knowledge that God had created him for a purpose. As I stated previously, each of us have been created by God for a unique purpose. Like Samuel, we can be sure that our life has great meaning. God created you intentionally--not accidentally! God has a purpose for you.
In a recent devotional regarding Hannah’s prayer, I read this statement: “You're probably unaware of just how many prayers God has heard with your name attached to them. Long before you were born, godly ancestors may have been praying that their children and grandchildren would trust and follow God. Even if your parents aren't Christians, you may have no idea how many times others have prayed specifically for you.” Meditate on that thought for a moment and that in itself provides comfort and strength to follow Him.
When I read that statement, I thought of John 17 where Jesus Himself prayed for us. If you have not read John 17 as our Lord’s prayer for you, then I encourage you to read through it slowly. As you read, think on the specific things Jesus asks the Father on YOUR behalf.
The scriptures I listed above give clarity to a truth about each of us. We are not insignificant to God! God has had His hand on you from the very beginning. In fact, BEFORE you were formed in the womb He had a plan and a purpose for YOU. You matter a great deal to Him, and He still has much that He wants to do in your life and through your life if you will allow Him.
Take time today to celebrate your uniqueness that God has created in you. Thank God, for the people who have faithfully prayed for you over the years. Praise God answering those prayers and for making you His from the very beginning. Isn’t that comforting, from the very beginning we belonged to God. When we choose to live for Him and follow His path as Samuel did, we are much more secure in our walk with Him and fulfilled with our lives.
Associational Missions Strategist at Tar River Baptist Association since November, 2000. Called of God to work with member churches to strengthen the local church in its efforts to impact lostness in THIS generation! I will ATTEMPT to add to this blog almost daily. People are free to use the ideas shared in any way they wish. The purpose of the posts are merely to help us in our search to BE the people God is calling us to BE in Him!