Does talking about the Commandments make you nervous? Proud?
Do you have one or two that you just don't think apply anymore? Or do you go down the list and think to yourself, "Hmm, I'm doing a pretty good job?"
More than likely we are each guilty of one or more of the above Commandment struggles, but that's not my point today.
When Jesus was asked which of the Commandments was the most important He said, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31
Scot McKnight calls this The Jesus Creed. Earlier this week, I began studying McKnight's book, 40 Days Living The Jesus Creed.
If Jesus says that loving God with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving my neighbor as myself is the most important of all of the Commandments; then this is a great place to begin my focus on obedient living.
McKnight says that loving God with all of our:
- Heart - is giving God the center of our emotional life.
- Soul - is giving God the center of our spirituality life.
- Mind - is giving God the center of our thought life.
- Strength - is giving God everything! Our ambitions, our dreams,our finances, our talents, etc.
It's nice to talk about, but is it really possible?
In our sin-filled human nature - no, but with the power of the Holy Spirit - absolutely.
I have memorized the words of Mark 12:29-31, and plan to recite them every morning, evening, and any other time they come to mind . . . this is the premise of The Jesus Creed.
- Beginning the day with its words of promise freshly on our lips.
- Ending the day with its words helping us recognize and identify our need for repentance.
- Throughout the day its words of commitment guiding and directing our decisions.
In obedience we might think - just tell me what to do and I'll do it.
Just give me the rules. For some that defines religion.
But as Christians, followers of Christ the Messiah, we are given a more important Commandment, the most important Commandment . . . to love.
To love God and our neighbor.