Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Greatest Commandment

When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he responded by saying, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."  Matthew 22:36-40

When looking back at the 10 commandments given in Exodus 20, we can see why Jesus said that these two commandments are what all of the commandments hinge on.  For instance, if we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind, then we would automatically follow the first commandment, which is to have no other gods before Him.  If we love God that much, we would have no desire to have anyone or anything else become our god. 

The second commandment is not to make a graven image.  We would have no desire to do this if we love God with all of our heart, remembering also that anything can become an "image", even television.  People worship images without realizing it.  An image can be anything at all the comes between you and God, whatever you put first.  What we all find out eventually is no matter what that person or object is, it fails to fulfill our deepest desires.  It is temporary.  But God's love lasts forever.

The third commandment is to not take the name of the Lord our God in vain.  We would have no desire to curse or profane His name if we love Him with all our heart, soul and mind.  Cursing has become so prevalent today that people don't even realize they are doing it.  There is hope for a cleansing of words that glorify God if we put him first in our heart, soul and mind.  When you're with a group of people, notice how they react when you say something uplifting as opposed to cursing.  Cursing is not pleasing in any form to yourself, other people or to God.  Blessing and cursing don't mix (James 3:10).

The fourth commandment, to remember the Sabbath, setting a day aside to rest and worship and thank Him as the example He gave to us by resting on the 7th day.  If our love for God is great, we will desire to set a day aside to worship, praise and thank Him not just for his bountiful blessings, provision and care, but because He first loved us and desires to have a close relationship with us.  You set time aside for the One you love.

The fifth commandment, to honor our father and mother, would come so easily if we loved God so much, knowing also that he is our father and literally told us to call Him "Daddy" (Abba Father).

The sixth commandment, not to kill.  If we wholly love God and our neighbor as he has said, the thought of killing someone would be the furthest thing from our mind. 

The seventh commandment would be upheld, not to commit adultery, if our first love were to God our Creator.  Love is of God, so He can guard your heart and mind from thoughts that would threaten to divert you from your wedding vows, and he can keep your heart and mind to wait until you are married.

The eighth commandment, not to steal would be easy to follow.  Our love for God should be so strong that we know that in our time of need, He will provide.  There is no need to steal when He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  The Creator of the universe knows when we have a need.  So many steal for drugs, as if the drug has become their god.  Notice how when one of the commandments is broken, other broken commandments follow suit.  There is a dependence on drugs, so the drugs become like a god.  Then there is a craving for more, so there is the desire to steal; and from there the possibility to kill to get the money to get the drugs and so on.  If that desire for drugs were replaced by a fulfilling and complete love that so many desire that only God can give, all of the other needs would be taken care of.  He desires that for YOU.  He loves you.  He really does.

The ninth commandment, not to bear false witness against our neighbor, would not be broken if we had a deep love for God and if we loved our neighbor as much as we love ourselves, no matter what the neighbor is like or what problems they may have, or how antagonizing they may be.  When our hate is replaced with God's love, even the hardest soul can melt in His presence.

The tenth commandment would be easy to abide by-- not to covet anything that our neighbor has, if our heart, soul and mind were so filled with the love of God.  Then we would know in the depth of our heart that the most beautiful, desirous, materialistic object that can be found on earth could never compare to what He has to offer us, and what He has to offer is eternal.
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