Read: Matthew 22:36-40
I have one of those songs. It was trendy at the time I was saved, and, though it’s been a long time since I last listened to it, I know all the words and it will still reduce me to tears to this day if I let it. “How He Loves” was the main song played at the camp where I made the choice to follow Christ, naïve and unsuspecting of all that would follow in my own life.
Maybe for you it’s a part of a sermon, or a poem, a Bible verse, or something in nature that reminds every square inch of your being that there is a mighty God whose love for you is unconditional and insatiable; He cannot get enough of you. This love He has for you cannot be quenched.
When Jesus became a human and lived among us, the Pharisees and Sadducees tested him by asking trick questions, hoping He would slip up. This was the case in Matthew 22, starting in verse 34, when they asked, “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” Even though Jesus was asked this as a trick question, we may ask the same question ourselves.
We can speculate what they were hoping he’d say, but what Jesus actually said alluded to the words of Moses: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind (Deut. 6:5)… and love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18).”
Even though Jesus quotes Moses, there are a couple of differences. In Deut. 6:5, Moses does not include the mind in the parts of us we need to love the Lord with, but he does include strength. In both Mark’s and Luke’s accounts of Jesus’ words, Jesus says all four: heart, soul, mind, and strength. In other words, Moses could be understood to say, “Love the Lord your God with all your emotions, with all your being, and with all your physical strength.” Jesus is essentially giving the reminder to not neglect loving God with their intellect too. Perhaps this slight expansion of the meaning of Moses’ words was telling how the Pharisees were failing to love God. In short, there is no aspect of the human existence that escapes the responsibility to love our Creator.
Surely this looks different for each of us, but we don’t have to try on our own to figure out what it means to love others. God is the perfect example. Ephesians 5:1-2 sheds some light on this. It says, “Therefore be imitators of God, as dearly loved children walking in love as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Believers know what God’s love is like as we have experienced this love that is unconditional and cannot be quenched. We are to then follow this example and love others as God loves us all.
Consider the ways Jesus asks us to love God: heart, soul, mind, and strength. Is there a certain area you struggle to love God and others with? Write down a practical way you can love Him in that area and ask a friend to keep you accountable in that today.